Chicken soup may or may not be a cure-all for physical and psychic ills, but if you add a few matzo balls it definitely becomes a deli classic. This recipe, from Gillie Feuer of Long Island, New York, was a tightly held secret, until we pried it loose. The key? Lots of veggies, and her light and floaty dumplings: "They're very well behaved," she told us. "They plump up just like little dolls." The trick? "Margarine." But, she warned, "I'm not perfect. You can see my fingerprints on them." It might just be the fingerprints that make them so good.
For the Broth
- 1 (3-lb.) chicken
- 3 carrots, halved
- 2 onions, halved
- 5 stalks celery, with leaves, halved
- 3 parsnips, halved
- 1 head garlic, unpeeled, split
- 1 bunch parsley, washed
For the Matzo Balls
- 1 onion
- 8 eggs
- 1 stick margarine, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 1⁄2 cups matzo meal
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Small dill sprigs for garnish
For the broth: Combine chicken, carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, and garlic in a large stockpot with water to cover. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to yield about 2 tbsp., and set aside; add remainder to pot. Bring water just to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim foam. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 1⁄2 hours. Strain, cool, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove any fat from surface.
For the matzo balls: Grate enough of onion to yield about 2 tbsp.; set aside the rest. In a large bowl combine grated onions, eggs, margarine, matzo meal, reserved chopped parsley, and 1⁄4 cup water or chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and let sit at least 30 minutes.
Wet hands and roll dough into 24 2" balls (they will expand as they cook). Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tbsp. salt and remaining onion. Drop matzo balls into water one at a time. (They won't stick together if the pot is large enough.) Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30–40 minutes. Drain. Store, covered, on a plate until ready to use; matzo balls will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To serve, heat broth over medium heat and season with salt and pepper; add matzo balls and heat through. Garnish with dill.