Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"
Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"

Chicken Soup and Kneidlach (Matza Balls)

Just what the Doctor ordered - Jewish Penicillin...

Chicken Soup and Matzah Balls

This authentic chicken soup has many varieties but all cultures consider it to be 'Jewish Penicillin', which Jewish mothers and grandmothers have fed to their families for centuries.

It's great at any time, makes a great start to any Erev Shabbat meal or for the High Holy Days.


In case you were wondering, the word Kneidlach is Yiddish.


For the Chicken Soup



  • 1 large jointed chicken with giblets (optional), or chicken portions
  • 3 sliced carrots
  • 2 large onions peeled and left whole
  • Some whole black peppercorns
  • 2 pints chicken stock (can use chicken soup powder)



  • Place the chicken pieces in a large soup pan and add water with stock.
  • Add onions, carrots and peppercorns.
  • Cook for about 1.5 hours until all tender.
  • Remove the whole onions with a spoon, squeezing out the juices and discard.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to another dish (I usually make a sauce of some kind, like chasseur or sweet and sour for the main dish later).
  • Allow to cool and place in fridge overnight.


For the Kneidlach (Matza Balls)



I use a large mug as a measure.

  • 2 mugs of matza meal (or put some matza in a blender / food processor to crunch it up quite finely)
  • 1 mug of hot water
  • 4 whisked eggs
  • a large pinch of salt



  • Pour the hot water (not boiling as it will cook the eggs) onto the matza meal in a large bowl, mixing with electric blades.
  • Add the eggs, slowly beating until all the mixture is even. It should be fairly soft so add a little more water if needed.
  • Wet hands under a tap and take walnut size amounts of the mixture, roll gently into a ball (it will be heavy if handled harshly) and then drop into a large pan of plain boiling water as you go.
  • Continue until all the balls are simmering and cook for about 10 minutes until swollen and fluffy.


And finally...

Gently spoon the matza balls into the simmering soup from the pan of boiling water and serve when heated through and ready.



If cooking with the skin of the chicken on make sure you cook the soup the day before so you can refrigerate it overnight and then skim off the solid fat (smultz), which can be used for other things, such as helzel stuffing for a whole chicken.


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