There’s something about all this resting I’ve been doing that’s terribly exhausting. A few days, a few pounds and a couple of Lortab later, Thanksgiving is over, I lose Libby to the plane that will whisk her back to sunny Southern California in under 12 hours and there are only 18 shopping days until my birthday. Cough, nudge and wink.
While I’ve been toiling away at coveting all sorts of lavish gifts and talking my father into taking me out to a ‘spensive restaurant for the big day, time has marched on in that stupid way it does and I have actually managed to keep from gorging myself on Wheat Thins.
Having had more than my wallet’s fair share of medical attention recently, particularly in regards to avoiding even the mildest of dehydration, I figure this week’s recipe post should be useful, easy and temporally accessible. Also, it is my very favorite soup.
BONUS POINTS: You can totally use the turkey carcass for this sucker. Bam.
Oh, yeah, and there’s, like, actual science to back up why chicken soup is good for you when you’re sick. Dr. Sister and Dr. Brother-in-Law totally explained it to me using phrases like “lipids,” “fat absorption,” “steam” and “nasal passages,” and no doubt they threw in a verb to two to tie it all together succinctly.
matza ball soup
- 2ish pounds carrots, chopped roughly into 1-inch chunks
- 2ish pounds celery, chopped roughly into 1-inch chunks
- 3 large onions, chopped roughly into 1-inch chunks, or more, if you like onions. They are my favorite.
- 1 parsnip, chopped roughly into 1-inch chunks. This is the secret. DON’T TELL.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper. Ok, you can bring Left-Eye, too, this time.
- 2 quarts chicken broth. This is debatable. Arguably, if you cook the chicken for long enough, you’ll have broth. Some of us like to cheat. Because we can.
- 6 chicken thighs (or a turkey carcass leftover and some bouillon)
- A few dried whole bay leaves
- Matza ball mix
- Eggs, however many the mix box tells you to get. Wtf, like I remember that now?
- And my mama likes to add parsley at the very end, but I find parsley annoying, so that one’s up to you.
This soup takes forever, which is a huge pain in the ass when you want it RIGHT FUCKING NOW, but it’s worth the wait. I like to plop the sucker in the crock pot and prance around in my pearls, heels & apron all day with the cordless sweeper broom. If you do not choose to go the crock pot route, you will have more to clean and will have to pay more attention. So what I’m saying here is USE A CROCK POT.
Also, it freezes well (without the veggies) for a rainy day.
Take your raw chicken thighs and brown the edges for a few minutes on either side in a heavy-bottomed pan with olive oil over medium high heat – don’t worry, you’re not cooking them all the way through – and toss ‘em in the crock pot.
Fill with water to cover the meat. If you’re using the turkey carcass, don’t worry about browning anything ahead of time. You’ve already cooked the sucker. While this conveniently means you’re even less likely to kill anyone with underdone meat, it also means you’ve already given away half the flavor. So throw in a bouillon cube or two and mash it up against the side of the pot to help it on its path to total dissolvedom. You’re welcome.
Throw in the bay leaves, a smidgen of salt and a dash o’ pepper and let the sucker cook for 8ish hours on low. I’m feeling very specific today.
Now you add the parsnip that has confused you all day by its ridiculously wonderful spicy smell and could root vegetables actually be yummy? The answer is yes. While you’re at it, transfer the soup to a pot on the stove and set it to cook another hour over medium-low heat. Oh, and remove the bay leaves because them shits is poison.
Take out the chicken and when it’s cool, pull it off the bones to use later, tossing about a ¼ shredded bits of meat back into the pot. You can throw in more meat if you want. Who turns down more meat?
I add two quarts of chicken broth here, if I’ve let it go the full 9 hours, because it will have cooked down quite a bit. Other people start with more water. Other people have weaker soup.
Prepare the matza ball mix as directed, using olive oil instead of veggie oil because that shit’s yummy and whatever number of eggs you’re supposed to use. There will be two packets in the box. I make them both, because they are tasty. Let the mixture chill for 30 minutes, not 15, but no longer. Because I said so.
Once the dough is cold, bring the soup to a boil and remove the lid. Form 1 inch-ish balls of dough in your hands and drop into the boiling soup. Let it boil until you’ve dropped all the matza balls in, reduce heat to medium and recover for about 10 minutes.
Here you could add parsley if you like parsley. Just don’t tell me. Stupid parsley.
Also, I dedicate tonight’s secret family recipe to the memory of Mr. Leslie Nielsen, a fabulous actor – from Canada! – who happens to have delivered my favorite line of all time, from the movie Airplane!
Rest well, big guy.