Chicken and matzo ball soup

The food my grandmother used to make always fills me with love and fond memories. So whenever I feel the need to reconnect with her, I always make one of her recipes. Like many grandmother’s; mine loved to make food to show us how much she loved us. I often remember her urging us to “eat, eat” with a thick Hungarian accent. As a Hungarian Jew, she had an amazing collection of recipes that had been passed down for generations and I was very fortunate to write down a few of my favourite recipes before she died.  This chicken and matzo ball soup is something I ate whenever I was sick or feeling down. They don’t call it Jewish penicillin for nothing!

There are a couple of ways to make this soup. The easiest way is to roast and eat a whole chicken the day before, so that you can use the left over meat and carcass to make the chicken stock. However, as it’s not always practical to roast a whole chicken, I’ve converted the recipe so that you don’t have to.

Soup Ingredients

  • 3 litres chicken stock
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 shallot or brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Matzo ball dumpling ingredients

  • 1/2 packet of matzo crackers – around 130g (you can use substitutes if you can’t get hold of matzo crackers or matzo meal)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tblsp chicken fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a large saucepan, add the shallots, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken breast and chicken stock. Bring it to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables and the chicken breast are completely cooked through.

Remove the chicken breast and slice or shred the chicken into pieces. I usually use a fork to pull the chicken apart.

Meanwhile prepare your dumplings. If you don’t have access to matzo meal (like me), you can blitz the crackers in a food processor until you get a fine powder. If you can’t get hold of matzo crackers either then Sao biscuits in Australia, or Saltine crackers, are good alternatives. The crackers should be lightly salted.


In a food processor or large bowl, blend together the matzo meal, eggs, chicken fat, salt and pepper and the parsley. I usually get the chicken fat by scooping off the fat from the surface of the broth when I’ve used a chicken carcass. However you can use duck fat or lard, if you don’t have any chicken fat available. Though personally the chicken fat make the dumplings delicious!

When the soup broth is bubbling and the vegetables are cooked through. Scoop a tablespoon of the dumpling mixture and form a round ball with your hands. Gently place it in the broth. Repeat until all the dumpling mix is gone. I forgot that these dumplings get bigger after they’ve cooked, so I should of made them a bit smaller. These dumplings are fluffy and light and melt in your mouth.

Once the dumplings have cooked, return the chicken and add the chopped parsley. Serve hot and let the healing begin!


One Comment Add yours

  1. The Smiling Pilgrim says:

    Now I’m totally hungry!

    Liked by 1 person

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