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Matzo Ball Soup with Rainbow Carrots and Asparagus

Servings: 8

This matzo ball soup hits all the prerequisite notes —a whole bird, a slow simmered broth, and some schmaltz for the matzo balls. But it also honors the seasonality of the holiday, boasting colorful rainbow carrots, thinly sliced asparagus and abundant layers of fresh herbs.


For the broth

  • 1 4-lb. chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 carrots (about 6 oz.), peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery (about 4 oz.), cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and quartered
  • 5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 sprigs fresh dill

For the matzo balls

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, preferably expeller pressed
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) matzo meal
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup

  • 1 bunch orange and yellow carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and very thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, large leaves torn
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill leaves
  • 1/4 cup scallions (both white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced


Make the broth

  • Pat dry the chicken. Using your fingers and a paring knife, remove the skin and any loose patches of fat and reserve. Using a boning knife, remove the legs and split into drumsticks and thighs. Debone the breast and tenderloin by slicing along the breastbone and then next to the breast plate.
  • Season the chicken – including the neck and body – with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper. Put all the chicken except the breasts in a large pot. Add the remaining broth ingredients, cover with 5 qt. cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, add the breasts and cook, occasionally skimming any fat or foam from the surface, until the breasts are just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and let cool.
  • Simmer the broth uncovered for another 2 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve; discard the solids. You should have approximately 21/2 qt. liquid; add water to bring to 21/2 qt. if you have less than this amount. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Shred the chicken breasts and stir into the broth.
  • While the broth is cooking, render the schmaltz: Put the reserved chicken skin and fat in a small nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, until the skin browns lightly and renders most of its fat, about 20 minutes. Carefully, pour off the fat into a small bowl; you should have approximately 2 Tbs. Discard the skin.

Make the matzo balls

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 Tbs. of the schmaltz, the oil, 1/3 cup water, parsley, dill, 2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Fold in the matzo meal and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Fill another large pot with water, add a couple Tbs. salt, and bring to a boil. Using a tablespoon measure, gather heaping portions of the matzo mixture (approximately 1 oz. each) and then use wet hands to lightly shape into 24 balls. Drop into the boiling water. Cover the pot and simmer, flipping occasionally, until the balls puff up and completely cook through (check by slicing into a thicker one), 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately stir into the soup. Let the soup cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Serve the soup

  • Put the soup over medium-low heat, add the carrots, cover, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the matzo balls are completely heated through (slice into one of the bigger matzo balls to check), 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the asparagus, herbs, and scallions. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and serve.


Rate or Review

Reviews (1 review)

  • ShegetzBalabusta | 03/31/2020

    Seems far too heavy a soup to serve as a first course ... and it seem to me that in poaching the breasts only ‘til their done, you forgo a lot of flavour in the broth.

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