Tiny Matzoh Ball Soup
'Passover' by Chef Michelle Bernstein
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, skinned, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 6 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 breasts)
2 cups minced Spanish onion
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 bay leaf
About 4 quarts chicken stock
2 cups chayote ¼-inch dice (can be replaced by pumpkin, calabaza, or jicama)
2 cups peeled sweet potato, ¼-inch dice (from about 1 large potato)
2 medium ears of corn, cut into ¼-inch rounds
½ cup dill leaves, picked and roughly chopped
1 Serrano chili, sliced very thin
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper
Matzoh balls, (recipe follows)
Put the chicken, onion, celery, carrots, and bay leaf in a large stockpot and cover with cold chicken broth or cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, moist, and tender, about 1 hour. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred the meat. Set aside while you make the matzoh balls.
1¼ cup matzoh meal
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 eggs, 3 separated
¼ cup melted chicken fat or duck fat (known as schmaltz)
¼ cup minced yellow onion
Oil for your hands
In a large bowl, whisk together the matzoh meal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs with the 3 yolks, fat and onion. In a separate bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir the schmaltz mixture into the dry ingredients, then stir in one-third of the beaten egg whites until incorporated. The mix will be on the dry side. Fold in the remaining whites as gently as possible until no streaks remain. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the batter and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or overnight, until firm.
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of water. Scoop ½ -tablespoon-size mounds of the matzoh batter onto the baking sheet. Using the oil-and-water mixture to keep your hands moist, roll each scoop of batter into a ball, handling them as gently as possible.
Return the chicken soup to a simmer. Add the matzoh balls and add the chayote, sweet potato, corn, dill, and Serrano to the pot.
Cover and cook over moderate heat, turning the matzoh balls a few times, until they are plump and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Stir the shredded chicken into the soup and cook just until the meat is warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the cilantro. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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