Cold-Busting Matzo Ball Soup


for the stock:
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion, quartered
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 large chicken, cut into pieces, skin/fat removed and reserved

2 quarts chicken stock

for the soup:
1 onion, diced
6 garlic scapes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced into coins
1 parsnip, sliced into coins

for the matzo balls:
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat* or olive oil
1 cup matzo meal
1 cup original Vintage Seltzer, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


In a large soup pot, place onion; 1 (large) parsnip, halved; bunch parsley; sprigs of sage; 2 celery stalks; chicken pieces; broth and wine. The broth should be covering the chicken. If not, add water or additional to cover. Over high heat, bring to boil then reduce to low and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour, every 10 minutes, skim any scum that floats to the surface off.

Pour the seltzer into a large bowl and top with matzo meal, stir to combine. Add 3 tablespoons rendered fat (if you don’t have 3 tablespoons’ worth, make up the difference in oil), salt, egg and white pepper. Stir to combine, refrigerate for 1 hour.

After the stock has cooked for one hour, remove the chicken and place in a bowl. Strain the broth through a fine strainer into another large pot, pressing the solids to release any liquids. Discard solids.

Saute the onion, carrots, parsnips, garlic, scapes and celery in a large stock pot.

Add stock and boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken and simmer.

Meanwhile, remove the mazto meal mixture from the refrigerator and, using wet hands, roll into 1 inch balls.

In a second pot, bring a large amount of salted water to boil. Drop the matzo balls into the water and cook 15 minutes, they should float to the top but this does not mean they are ready, cook the full 15 minutes.

*To render chicken fat to make schmaltz for the matzo balls: Heat a sauté pan, add the fat, and the small onion, quartered and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Strain into a heat safe bowl or measuring cup.

To serve: place 4 matzo balls in each bowl (should serve 4-6) and ladle the soup over. Serve right away.

Store leftover soup and matzo balls in separate containers in the refrigerator. Add the matzo balls to the soup and warm it on the stove top to server.

My thoughts:

When Vintage Seltzer approached me about developing a recipe using their seltzer in a new recipe my mind didn’t go to drinks; it went to matzo balls! Hanukkah is right around the corner and while matzo ball soup is a classic Passover dish, I think it goes great with Hanukkah which falls in a more classically soup weather time of year. So I headed straight for the beverage aisle and picked up a 12-pack of 12-oz cans. I like using canned seltzer for my fluffy matzo balls because it keeps the fizz longer than an opened 2-liter bottle so I have plenty on hand for many batches of soup! The fizz in seltzer adds a bit of lightness to the matzo balls and since it is very low sodium and flavorless, it doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the matzo balls or the soup. It is one of my favorite “secret” ingredients.

It is cold and flu season so I made this a hearty soup (not just broth n’ balls like some versions) and loaded it up with chicken, carrots, celery, parsnips, garlic and garlic scapes! They don’t call chicken soup Jewish penicillin for nothing! The garlic and rich broth are sure to make you feel much better.

Side note: This recipe is great made with turkey too!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. Can you explain what "until the fat is rendered" means, exactly? I have never worked with animal fats before, having lived with a vegan for 14 years. 🙂

  2. When the fat is in the pan, not still stuck to the skin.

  3. can this be frozen?

  4. You could freeze the soup but I would make fresh matzo balls when you go to serve it.

  5. I freaking love matzoh ball soup. It is 20 degrees here today so it's seriously tingling my crave-o-meter. I know that since it's you this is probably the best recipe ever. <3