Matzo Ball Soup

When Elyssa Heller, owner of Edith’s Eatery & Grocery in Brooklyn, was growing up, her mom made matzo ball soup every year for Passover. But she also prepared the dish throughout the entire year—for Heller whenever she was sick, or even for regular weeknight dinners. Today, Heller considers this belly-warming recipe, which has evolved throughout the decades, a symbol of the long and winding journey of Jewish people to America. Her mom added her own twists to the traditional techniques—like roasting the chicken bones separately and including lots of parsnip in the stock—resulting in a richer, sweeter matzo ball soup.


    •  1½ lb. chicken bones
    •  One 3- to 4-lb. chicken, giblets removed
    •  ¾ cup coarsely chopped parsley
    •  1 tsp. kosher salt
    •  4 medium parsnips, peeled
    •  2 bay leaves
    •  2 medium carrots, peeled
    •  2 celery stalks
    •  2 large yellow onions, peeled
    •  1 small fennel bulb
    •  One 6-by-5-in. piece dried kombu
    •  Chicken fat (schmaltz), or substitute olive or vegetable oil
    •  1 cup matzo meal
    •  1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
    •  1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
    •  1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
    •  ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    •  ¼ tsp. dried ginger
    •  4 large eggs


  1. Make the stock: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and add the chicken bones. Bake until the bones are a dark golden brown, about 1 hour.
  2. To a large pot over medium-high heat, add the roasted bones, the chicken, and enough cool water to cover the chicken by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming off and discarding any froth that forms along the surface. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the parsley, salt, parsnips, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions, fennel, and kombu, and simmer until the stock turns a deep golden color, 4–6 hours.
  3. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. In a fine-mesh sieve set over another large pot, strain the stock, reserving the parsnips, carrots, celery, and fennel and discarding all the other solids. Transfer the vegetables to an airtight container, allow to cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. Pick the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate.
  4. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until the fat solidifies on the surface, 2–24 hours. Skim off the chicken fat and set aside for the matzo balls. (You should have ¼ cup of fat. If you have less, supplement it with store-bought schmaltz or olive or vegetable oil.)
  5. In a large bowl, stir together matzo meal, cilantro, parsley, salt, black pepper, ginger, eggs, the reserved chicken fat, and ¼ cup of the stock. Cover and refrigerate 1–24 hours.
  6. Fill a large pot halfway with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. With wet hands, gently divide the matzo mixture into eight 3-tablespoon portions and roll into balls, gently dropping them into the boiling water as you go. (Do not pack the dough tightly or the balls will not puff as they cook.) Turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer until the matzo balls expand, float to the surface, and are evenly cooked through, about 25 minutes. To test if they're ready, use a spoon to remove one matzo ball and cut it in half; it should be the same color throughout and have a consistent light texture.
  7. Meanwhile, return the stock to the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Shred the reserved chicken into bite-size pieces, then add to the pot. Coarsely chop the reserved vegetables, then add to the pot. Cook until heated through, 7–8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Divide the soup among four wide soup bowls. Using a slotted spoon, add 1–2 matzo balls to each bowl, then garnish with parsley and serve hot.

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