This classic Passover recipe is served as the first course of the seder meal in Jewish homes all around the world. This version comes from Renee Renner, a home cook in the Bronx, New York, who adds seltzer to the matzo balls to ensure that they turn out light and airy.
- 12 sprigs fresh dill
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch celery, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- Sprigs from 1⁄2 bunch flat-leaf parsley plus 1 tbsp. chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 parsley root, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 (3 1⁄2-lb.) chicken
- 1 lb. chicken feet
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp. seltzer water
- 1⁄8 tsp. dried dill
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 cup plus 1 tbsp. matzo meal
- Gather up dill, garlic, cilantro, onions, celery, and parsley sprigs in a piece of cheesecloth to form a purse; secure with twine. Make a second purse with the carrots, turnips, and parsley root.
- Put dill purse, chicken, chicken feet, salt, and 1 1⁄2 gallons water into a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, for 1 1⁄2 hours. Add carrot purse and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard dill purse and feet. Remove chicken and carrot purse; let cool. Pull enough breast meat into fine shreds to make 3⁄4 cup. Reserve 1 cup vegetables from the carrot purse. Cover and chill shredded chicken and vegetables. (Reserve remaining chicken and vegetables for another use.) Strain broth through a fine sieve; chill overnight. Skim off and discard all but 2 tbsp. chicken fat from broth; set fat aside.
- Whisk together reserved chicken fat, seltzer, dried dill, and eggs in a bowl. Pour in matzo meal while whisking. Cover and chill the matzo mixture for 15 minutes. Bring 2 1⁄2 quarts salted water to a boil. With wet hands, form matzo mixture into 1″ balls. Reduce heat to medium; drop in balls. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir balls gently and simmer, covered, until fluffy, 10–12 minutes more. Meanwhile, transfer reserved shredded chicken, mixed vegetables, and broth to a large pot; heat over medium heat. Transfer balls to the broth. Serve soup garnished with remaining parsley.