You can’t have Passover really without matzo ball soup. It’s a rich, hearty soup made with chicken, lots of vegetables, and matzo balls. Matzo balls are dumplings, but made with matzo meal instead of flour. My mom and great-grandma used to make this in enormous batches. Mom was feeding 20 or so at a time, and my great-grandma about 40-45 people (big family). That, of course is way too much for one person. So small batch matzo ball soup it is! My version makes about 5 or 6 servings.
Now, the usual way to make the soup is to boil the chicken, then add the veggies, bring to a boil, and simmer. However, if you do it that way, the chicken ends up fairly tasteless. So, I lightly cook the chicken first, then add the veggies, and finally the water. Doing it this way allows the chicken and veggies to caramelize a bit and gain added flavor.
The best way to do this, is to make the soup first. That way, if you get fat from the top, you can use that to make the matzo balls the next day. The matzo balls need to be refrigerated to firm up, so start them either in the morning or at night so they have time to chill.
Also, make sure to store the finished soup and matzo balls in different containers. Put them together and the matzo balls will absorb a lot of the liquid (leaving you with very little soup left!)
One more thing, there is (as usual) a big debate over the “proper” texture of matzo balls. Some say that they should be fluffy. Others insist they should be firm. My family comes firmly (ha ha) down on the firm side. They should have body and substance! Just say no to wimpy matzo balls!
Small Batch Matzo Ball Soup
A small batch matzo ball soup recipe, perfect for solo or small group Passover Seders.
1 hour, 30 minutes
I used half the turnip and half the dill from the soup greens package for this recipe. You can freeze the dill for another use, and use the remainder of the turnip to make Roasted Root Vegetable Medley.
- 2-3 T vegetable oil
- 1 pkg chicken legs (3-4)
- 1 pkg soup greens (onion, carrot, celery, parsley, 1/2 dill, leek, 1/2 turnip, parsnip), plus one extra carrot.
- Optional: parsley root
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 C matzo meal (I made my own from my homemade matzo recipe, but you can buy it in the store)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 C vegetable oil (or rendered chicken fat if you have it; alternatively, skim off the fat from the soup)
- 1/3 C water or chicken soup
- Peel the carrots, parsnip, turnip, and onion, and chop.
- Rinse the leek thoroughly and chop.
- Rinse the parsley and dill and chop.
- Heat oil in large pot
- Add chicken and cook 5 minutes
- Add veggies, and cook on low until softened about 10 minutes
- Add water to cover by about an inch
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour until chicken is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let cool a bit, and remove the cooked chicken and the bones. Shred the chicken meat and return it to the pot.
- You can make this ahead and refrigerate it. If there’s fat on the top, skim that off and use it for the matzo balls.
- Crack the eggs. Reserve half of one egg for another use (break the egg, beat lightly and pour off half of it).
- Add the egg and a half to a medium size bowl.
- Add matzo meal, and beat again.
- Add salt, then beat the matzo mixture again.
- Add the oil or fat and beat.
- Add the soup or water. Beat it all together until thoroughly mixed.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
- Fill a 2 quart pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste.
- Remove the matzo ball mix from the fridge.
- Take about 1 T of matzo mixture and form into balls (about walnut size).
- Drop into the boiling water.
- Cook, covered, about 30 minutes.
- Scoop out the matzo balls with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl until needed. Refrigerate separately from the soup (otherwise the matzo will soak up quite a bit of liquid).
- When ready to serve, add the soup to a saucepan, then add the matzo balls, and simmer until hot, about 15 minutes.
More Passover Recipes
Homemade Small Batch Matzo
Store-bought matzo tastes like, well “hemstitched cardboard.” Make it yourself instead and get something with actual good flavor
Small Batch Charoses
It’s not Pesach without charoses. This mixture of apples, wine, nuts, and cinnamon is meant to remind us of the bricks our ancestors were forced to make while building Pharoah’s cities. Unlike actual mortar, this tastes good!
Cinnamon Sugar Brandy Bananas
End the festive meal with this easy banana dessert. They’re gently cooked in brandy and then sprinkled with cinnamon. Ready in minutes. Brandy is OK (check the label to make sure if you are observant).]
Single Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe
One serving of rich, decadent chocolate pudding. Cook it less and you get thick, European-style hot chocolate. So, it’s really two recipes in one!