Every year, around now, my family and I celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover, or as we call it, Pesach. This year, Pesach was extra special as it fell on the Easter long weekend. We all thought it would be great to break away from tradition and celebrate Pesach up at our holiday house. Usually my mum makes the classic ‘chicken soup with matzah-ball’ dish, but this year I took on the challenge and thought I’d share our family recipe with you.
The Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is the most popular traditional Jewish household meal. Some even call it ‘Jewish Penicillin’ as it’s thought to be a natural remedy for the common cold. Every family recipe varies slightly and that’s what makes chicken soup so special. This is how my mum was taught by her mum and one day I hope to teach my little Cherry!This is what you’ll need:
1 free range chicken cut into small pieces, skin removed
6 free range chicken drumsticks, skin removed
8 small carrots, or 4 large
1 brown onion
1 bunch dill
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
Place the chicken in a large pot, cover with tap water and bring to the boil. Turn the flame down and gently simmer the water for about 20 minutes. You’ll notice a skin of foam forming on the surface. Remove and discard the foam.
While the pot is simmering away, chop the carrots, celery and parsnips into large chunks. Throw them into to the pot and add the peeled onion too. Add salt to taste and let it gently simmer for about 2 hours. My tip: It’s best to cook this soup slowly on a low flame to allow all the flavours to combine. This way the chicken will be soft, tender and falling off the bone.
Get someone else to dice the onions. Nobody likes cutting onions but my dad doesn’t seem to mind. Then, add a good glug of vegetable oil into a fry pan and slowly cook the onions until they caramelise. This might take a while but is totally worth it for the sweetest balls!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, add the Matzo Meal, cooked onions and half a table spoon of salt. Add about 2 to 3 cups of tap water until you get a nice sticky consistency for rolling your balls.
Roll out the mixture into balls, the size is totally up to you, but make sure they all look the same. Mum’s wearing gloves to protect her precious nails, but my tip is to wet your hands with cold water so the mixture doesn’t stick.
Boil the balls in a large pot of salted water for about an hour. Now you’re done! Serve up a bowl of chicken soup with a couple of matzah-balls and you’ll have yourself a traditional, hearty and delicious meal!