Little Girl came home yesterday sick. Sore throat so bad she could barely talk, I knew I had to do something to get her back into shape. Enter my Emergency Matzo Ball Soup....
A quicker version of my traditional recipe from scratch, this version utilizes the ingredients I always have on hand in the fridge and pantry starting in fall and going through winter and spring when colds and flus are more rampant in our house. I highly suggest you do the same. Not only can you make this super healthy and healing soup, these ingredients are bases for a whole slew of different dishes you can make. A more detailed blog later, but for this post in my Cold Busting Arsenal I have:
- chicken (breast, thighs) I keep in the freezer
- dried herbs including bay leaves, thyme, herbs de provence, etc.
- lots and lots of ready-made boxes of broth (chicken, vegetable, beef)
- matzo ball mix
- noodles or small/thin pasta I can throw into soups and stews
PS This soup tastes even better the next day!
Emergency Matzo Ball Soup
2 chicken breasts (or thigh, etc)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalk, ends trimmed and chopped
1 large bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 tsp dried thyme (to taste)
8 cups chicken broth (recommend: Swanson's brand); (there are 4 cups of broth per box of broth)
1/2 cup matzo meal to make matzo balls
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water
Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in a large pot. Brown the chicken on both sides until golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
In the same pot now, add the chopped carrots, onion, and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic and continue to cook another minute. Add the thyme and mix to combine. Slowly add the broth, making sure to scrape up the "brown bits" that formed on the bottom of the pot and sides -- they add flavor to the soup. While the soup is coming to a boil, shred the chicken or chop it into bite-sized pieces, then add it back into the soup. Don't worry if the chicken maybe isn't done all the way through; it will be fully cooked in the broth.
In another small bowl, whisk together the matzo meal, vegetable oil, water, egg, and a pinch of salt if desired until well combined. The consistency will be like thick, wet sand. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take the matzo ball mixture out and begin scooping out about a heaping teaspoon's worth and using damp hands, form the mixture into a ball. Drop the ball into the boiling soup, and proceed to make more matzo balls. After you form each ball place it directly into the soup. Make sure they're not sticking together in the soup, then reduce heat down to medium and cover the soup to finish cooking. Cook for about 30-40 minutes. You'll notice the matzo balls have puffed up and the vegetables are nice and tender.
Taste and adjust with seasonings as desired. Remember, the soup will get saltier as it stays. So if you're making this soup in advance of something keep that in mind; the matzo balls will flavor and salt the soup the longer they stay in. If you taste it the next day and it's too salty, add some plain water to balance it out.
If you'd rather not bother with the matzo balls you can instead add some noodles or pasta -- flat egg noodles, super thin spaghettini broke into tiny pieces, or small shaped pasta like mini shells or ditalini work perfectly in this soup as well.
Enjoy and feel better!