Fiddler's Jewish-American Chicken Soup With Matzo Balls by Sy

“Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls is traditionally the first course at a Passover Dinner in many Ashkenazic (Eastern European Jewish culture) homes in North America and around the world. The Yiddish saying is that "Hot Soup" makes your troubles go away, it goes down easier. After you have tried this savory soup, I am highly confident that you will be a "Fiddler on a Roof" dancing and singing with joy-- Bitty, Bitty Bum!”
3hrs 30mins
8-10 Soup Bowls

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 12-4 12 lbs fresh chicken, skin removed cut up (use neck & giblets but not the liver, See Note below, use a fresh chicken.)
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 4 cups chicken broth, heated (College Inn Brand, (or more)
  • 1 medium onion, cut up into pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cleaned and cut up into pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and cut up into pieces
  • 1 small leek, cleaned, cut up into pieces (sand removed)
  • 1 medium potato, cleaned and cut up (or Russet potato with the skin on)
  • 1 small parsnip, cleaned and cut up
  • 1 small turnip, cleaned and cut up
  • 2 sprigs parsley, cleaned stems removed
  • 2 sprigs dill, cleaned stems removed
  • 1 pinch yellow food coloring (bijol, substitute turmeric)
  • salt & pepper
  • farfel
  • soup nuts
  • schredded egg
  • cooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup matzo meal (Streit's or similar brand, 8oz)
  • 2 -4 eggs (substitute Egg Beaters)
  • 14 cup oil (substitute melted margarine, no olive oil)
  • 14 cup water (substitute seltzer water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground pepper


  1. CHICKEN SOUP INSTRUCTIONS De-bone the chicken breasts, cut up into thin small strips, then place in the refrigerator (the chicken will be added later on).
  2. Heat a large"non-reactive pot" filled with cold water and bring to a boil, add the cut up chicken pieces and giblets.
  3. When almost boiling, remove the chicken and discard the water.
  4. In a clean"non-reactive pot" add 6 cups of cold water and the chicken pieces.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to very low (that is a few bubbles coming up at a time), cover and simmer for about 2-3 hours.
  6. Skim off any foam/dirt which may develop on the top, from time-to-time.
  7. While the soup is simmering, make the Matzo Balls as described below.
  8. After chicken has simmered for 2-3 hours, discard the chicken& bones and put broth through a strainer to remove any particles remaining; then back into a clean pot.
  9. Add the 4+ cups of heated chicken broth, onion, carrot, celery, leek, potato, parsnip, turnip, parsley, dill and cut up pieces of chicken breast meat.
  10. Add salt& pepper to taste and Bijol food coloring.
  11. Simmer low/medium heat for about 15 minutes.
  12. Next add the 10-12 Matzo Balls and simmer for about another 15 minutes.
  13. Serve in individual bowls and add to your liking farfel, soup nuts, shredded eggs, cooked egg noodles… NOTE: Do not use a frozen chicken, but a young fresh pullet if possible.
  14. Perhaps there is a market in your area where you can find a freshly killed kosher chicken.
  15. Or if you are lucky enough to raise your own Free-Range bird.
  16. MATZO BALLS INSTRUCTIONS (Streit's Manhattan recipe on box).
  17. STEP #1 MIX: Beat eggs.
  18. Add water (or seltzer), oil, salt and pepper.
  19. Mix well.
  20. Add matzo meal and stir thoroughly.
  21. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.
  22. STEP #2 FORM: Partially fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  23. Moisten palms with cold water.
  24. Form mixture into balls about 1" diameter; makes about 1 1/2" finished matzo balls.
  25. (Important to not compress the matzo balls, just form them loosely).
  26. Drop matzo balls into boiling water.
  27. STEP #3 SIMMER: When all the matzo balls are in the pot, reduce heat to low.
  28. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until done.
  29. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
  30. COMMENTS: The old traditional Jewish Chicken Soup (which my grandmother& mother used to make) would contain the chicken feet and undeveloped eggs.
  31. I still recall the skin of the chicken neck being used to make a delicious stuffing and the chicken fat used to make schmaltz.
  32. Some people like their matzo balls very soft& fluffy and others like them hard.
  33. Also, small or very big matzo balls.
  34. Finally, you can eliminate the matzo balls and add cooked Egg Noodles instead….

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