Matzo Ball Soup by Chef Alon Shaya

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Recipe courtesy of award-winning Chef Alon Shaya of Shaya
Photo credit: Randy Schmidt 

"I love making matzo ball soup. I tried to make a broth that reminds me of vietnamese pho. I love the warm spices and burned onion flavor that comes along with it. And have fun with spices! I love to add a little allspice to my chicken broth and some orange zest too. I feel it adds a nice complexity to the soup.


Matzo Ball Soup
2  (3­ pound) whole chickens, innards removed, legs and breasts separated
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half
2 celery ribs, washed and cut in thirds
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole star anise
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
Optional: allspice, orange zest

To Finish:

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
Parsley and chopped green onions for garnish
Optional: 4.5 tablespoons hawyej or curry powder (If kosher for Passover available) or omit

For the Matzo Balls:

1 cup matzo meal
1⁄2 cup duck fat, (chicken fat can substitute)
4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
3 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp onion powder
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder


Remove excess fat, breast meat and legs/thighs from the body of the chicken. Place the body in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the chicken by 1 inch. Place over a low flame and slowly bring to a simmer. As it simmers, skim off all the foam and fat as it rises to the top. Continue to cook for 45 minutes on a low simmer. Add the onions, carrot, celery, salt, star anise, cinnamon, garlic and bay leaves. Continue to cook partially covered for 2 hours on a low flame. Strain the broth and place the strained broth into another large pot. Add the remaining broccoli florets, chicken legs, and if using- hawyej and matzo balls to the broth and let cook slowly for 45 minutes. At this point, you can hold the soup warm until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, remove the chicken legs and pull apart the meat. In a hot saute pan over medium heat, place the chicken breast skin side down and begin to sear. Let cook for about 8 minutes or until the skin has become crispy and golden. Flip and cook the flesh side for another 3 - ­4 minutes. You want the chicken breast to be cooked to medium. Remove from pan, let rest for 5 minutes and dice. Return the leg meat as well as the diced breast to the broth. Check the soup for salt, and add the lemon juice. After the soup is plated, sprinkle on the green onions, add the broccoli florets, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

For the Matzo Balls:
Mix the matzo meal with the salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Warm the duck fat until it becomes liquid, but not hot. Add the eggs and fat to the other ingredients. Mix until evenly incorporated. Let mixture rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour prior to rolling. Roll into one ounce balls and carefully place in the simmering chicken broth to cook. Cook for 45 minutes on low heat.


Approximately 8 Servings  
The beautiful photo pictures the chicken matzo ball soup served at the restaurant Shaya. For Passover, Alon suggests those avoiding kitniyot substitute broccoli for the pictured peas. 

Recipe: Kosher, Passover, Meat