Back in 2013, Jeffrey David Solomon entered this recipe in our Matzo Ball Soup contest and was a semi-finalist. Sadly, Jeffrey passed away this week. In his honor, we are bringing his soup recipe back as our Wednesday Soup Spectacular. According to his family, he was an excellent chef and his matzo ball soup was a staple at family gatherings during the Jewish holidays.
Submitted by Jeff Solomon
This soup recipe has been handed down from generation to generation.
I have worked hard to respect and keep those traditions alive while at the same time elevating it and making it more practical and modern (for example — and don’t tell my grandma this –but I do not have a can of schmaltz in the fridge).
1 large package of chicken thighs skin on, bone-in
1 lb. bag peeled baby carrots
2 yellow onions medium to large (not sweet yellow)
5-6 regular carrots
1 package of parsnips 4-5 pieces
4 stalks of celery
2 packages of Croyden House Matzo ball soup mix
1 package Croyden House Matzo ball mix
2 large 49 oz. cans or equivalent of Swanson chicken broth
Chicken bouillon granules — not cubes — to add to taste
1 16 oz. package Reames frozen egg noodles
8 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1. In a very large stock pot fill it up about one third of the way with water roughly 12 cups and turn on the heat to get the water towards boiling. At this time add in the peeled carrots, and stalks of celery (cut the celery stalks in half) both after washing.
2. Peel the skin off the two onions, wash and put in the soup whole. Then peel the outer layer of the regular carrots and the parsnip and cut down into smaller pieces then wash and put into the pot.
3. Add the Croyden house soup mix two packets and add the chicken broth both cans.
4. As this soup begins to slowly heat up take out the chicken. Always do the chicken last and in a clean work area just to promote food safety. The large pack of chicken thighs should have 8 to 10 thighs. To reduce the fat content and greasy nature of the soup peel off all of the skin from the chicken making sure to cut away the loose fat even on the bottom of each of the thighs. Do this for all of the thighs except one or two of them. I leave the skin on one or two because the flavor the chicken skin brings can not be duplicated, yet at the same time you have greatly reduced the level of fat going into the soup making it much healthier which is relative since it is still chicken soup.
5. After all the chicken is cleaned add it to the pot and bring it to a rolling boil.
6. Let the soup boil for 20 minutes then put on a lid reduce heat to low and let simmer for 2 hours. As the chicken is first boiling use a strainer and attempt to remove and gristle or fat that surfaces to the top, which will keep the broth looking more clear.
7. After everything is now cooked and the bold flavors have emerged it still may be necessary to re-season the soup. This is where the additional bouillon comes into play. Grandma and Mother always said you can always add more but you can never take it out. Seasoning is a personal choice but we do not want the soup to be too salty so I do not add anything more then needed. Upon tasting the soup at this time add additional bullion or water to balance the flavor. For best results after the soup is done remove the onions and celery and throw them away, and remove the chicken and put it in a separate container sealed tight in the refrigerator. The soup should then be refrigerated over night so the next day the additional fat can be skimmed off the top.
8. Day 2 bring the soup back to a boil. As you are doing that de bone the chicken and break it into bite size pieces and add it back to the soup. Feel free to add a piece, eat a piece, add a piece give the cat or bird a piece as no human or animal can resist soup chicken.
9. Repeat until all the chicken is gone and then begin to prepare the matzah ball mix according to the instructions on the box. It is critical to use vegetable oil here and not some other substitute. I have found that the vegetable oil greatly increases the taste and the consistency of the matzah balls.
10. Make the mixture and set it in the fridge for 15 minutes. Wash your hands and dry them well and now you are ready for the fun part of making matzo balls!
11. As the soup is boiling, lightly roll the balls about the size of a golf ball and drop them into the soup. Do not pack them too tightly or they will become to solid in the center and will not cook evenly and yield the light and fluffy desired consistency. Continue this process until you have made all the matzo balls. Take a soup ladle and pour the hot soup over the top of the matzo balls continuously to help ensure that they cook evenly and without the risk of trying to roll them over and have them break apart.
12. Finally add the Reames noodles and let the soup cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
Serve, enjoy and prepare to have endless compliments and hear your mother say this soup should be in a contest.