Originally published on Food and Fond Memories on April 12, 2010 by sandyaxelrod 1 Comment (Edit)

Glass topped dining table set for a Passover seder

Our table all set for the Passover Seder

My daughter-in-law Eve and I really enjoy cooking together.  As I told you a couple of weeks ago she requested that Steve and I have a Passover Seder so that she could learn all about the holiday, its foods and traditions.  Most of the menu I needed to prepare in advance but the one thing she really wanted to learn to make was Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls.  I did have to prepare the matzo ball dough in the morning without her because it needs to chill for 5-7 hours.  This was the only unfortunate part because there is no precise way to know when enough matzo meal has been added to the mixture of cold water, eggs and schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).  The best way to describe it is that it should be like light mashed potatoes, spongy and soft.  By the time that Eve arrived to cook the mixture was well on its way to firming up from its visit to the refrigerator.  We did start right in on the soup though.  Eve suggested that we use my kitchen shears to cut the chicken apart and it worked like a charm.  Snip, snip, snip and a whole chicken was speedily turned into eight cleanly cut pieces!  Eve cut up the carrots, turnips, celery and onion. Meanwhile I poured the water over the chicken and added salt, pepper, fresh dill and fresh flat leaf parsley.  Then Eve added the vegetables.  About a half hour before we sat down for our seder Eve and I made the matzo balls and dropped them into the boiling, strained soup to boil until they floated to the surface and cooked through.  Our Matzo Ball Soup came out great and now Eve can make it for Brian whenever he wants it.  Which is good because it is his favorite soup!   When everything was ready we sat down at our table and read the Haggadah.  Eve seemed enthralled by the whole story of how Moses led his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.  How the angel of death “passed over” the homes of the Israelites who had smeared lambs blood on their doors so that their first born would not be taken when G-d inflicted the worst plague of them all.  Brian seemed totally relieved that we were doing an abbreviated version of the story because he remembered the seemingly unending ones at his Great-grandparents’ home led by my Zeyda while Bubie made the Matzo Balls.


Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

These light and fluffy matzo balls are like floating clouds of heaven in the savory broth.

  • Author: Sandy Axelrod
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Jewish


2 whole chicken, quartered (preferably Kosher or Free Range)

3-4 small yellow onions, not peeled, scored

3-4 carrots, peeled, sliced on the diagonal

3-4 turnips, peeled and cut in chunks

1 bunch celery with tops, cut up

soup greens

6-7 quarts water

salt & pepper

For the matzo balls:

6 eggs

6 oz. cold cold water

6 heaping tbsps. schmaltz, solidified/cold

(rendered chicken fat, make your own or buy pre-made)

1 tsp. salt

pinch of white pepper

1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups matzo meal


Place everything in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to simmer and cook covered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Strain and add back the carrot slices.

For the matzo balls:

Beat eggs lightly with cold water.  Add the chicken fat and stir until the fat dissolves.  Add salt and pinch or two of white pepper.  Gradually beat in the matzo meal, a couple of tablespoons at a time,  proceeding slowly as it thickens so you don’t add too much.  The mixture should be about as thick as light mashed potatoes, and a little soft and spongy.  Chill covered for 5-7 hours.  Half an hour before serving time make matzo balls.  With wet hands shape  the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Drop gently into boiling chicken soup.  Cover the pot loosely and let boil at a moderately brisk pace for about 25 minutes.

Keywords: A Sweet Passover, chicken soup, matzo balls, matzo ball soup, seder, first course, dinner