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Matzo Ball Soup

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Often called Jewish Penicillin, Matzo Ball Soup is not only a Passover staple but also such a New York  City staple. This recipe was taught to me by my wonderful friend Rachel who swears the secret lies in the dill and the richness of the broth. We've made this recipe together for Seder meals and other holidays and it is just delicious and always makes me feel right at home.

The stock can be made in advance to save time. You can freeze your enriched chicken stock or simply make several days in advance and rewarm when ready to serve. Always store your matzo balls separately so they do not become engorged with water and break apart.

Matzo Ball Soup
Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, giblets removed (about 4lbs)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch dill, stems removed then chopped
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup matzo meal (make sure it's kosher for Passover)
1 (32 oz) carton chicken stock
4 large carrots, cut into bite size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:
1. In a large stockpot, add whole chicken and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for one hour.
2. Meanwhile, slice onion in half and dice one half. Set aside in a small bowl for the soup. Take 1/2 of the remaining onion and mince. Set aside for the matzo balls.
3. In a medium bowl, mix egg, vegetable oil and 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly then add in matzo meal and mix till smooth. Add in the minced onion, 1/3 of the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then set in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
4. Once chicken stock has simmered for an hour, remove chicken to cool into a large bowl. Take your stockpot and place In the freezer.
5. After the fat has chilled on the surface of the stock, skim it off with a spoon and return stock to the stovetop. Add in the carton of chicken stock.
6. Fill another large pot halfway with salted water. Be sure that you have a lid for the pot.
7. Now that chicken has cooled, remove fat and discard. Shred the meat and set aside for the soup. You can save the bones to make another stock later but be sure to at least save one leg bone for your Seder plate.
7. Your matzo balls are ready to be formed! Take a large spoon of batter and roll into a ball. Drop into the pot of boiling salted water. Repeat till you've used all your batter. You get extra points if you manage to make an even 18 balls (the number 18 for Jews is a spiritual number that symbolizes the word "chai" meaning life.)
8. Lower boiling water to a simmer and cover and cook matzo for 30 minutes.
9. As your matzo balls are cooking, return your chicken stock to a boil and add in chopped carrots. Cook till just soft (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat again to a simmer and add in chopped onion and remaining dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. You can move your cooked matzo balls to the soup and serve immediately or store them separately if you are making in advance.
11. Be sure when you serve to ask how many matzo balls your guests want and serve your broth piping hot. Enjoy!

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