This soup is traditionally eaten at Passover, a Jewish holiday commemorating the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. As this recipe is quite involved, a double quantity is usually made so that an extra portion can be frozen for another meal. As not everyone has a 20 litre stockpot, you can simply halve stock ingredients (except carrots) and it will still serve 8. Start this recipe a day ahead.
- 2 kg chicken wings
- 1.5 kg (about 3) chicken carcasses
- 500 g chicken giblets
- 1 leek, white part only, cut in half
- 8 small carrots, peeled
- 2 small parsnips, peeled, cut into 4 cm pieces
- 1 swede, peeled, cut into 4 cm pieces
- ½ bunch curly parsley
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 eggs, separated
- 190 g (2 cups) coarse matzo meal (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place all chicken parts, vegetables, parsley and peppercorns in a 15-20 litre stockpot. Cover with 8 litre water and bring to the boil, skimming any scum from the surface using a large metal spoon. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, skimming surface every hour, for 3½ hours or until liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Cool.
Strain liquid through a fine sieve into another stockpot or two large bowls. Reserve carrots and refrigerate until needed. Discard remaining solids and refrigerate liquid overnight.
To make matzo balls, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Lightly whisk yolks, then gently fold yolks, matzo meal and onion through egg whites. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until thickened and matzo meal is soft.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Using damp hands, shape heaped tablespoons of matzo mixture into 16 golf ball-size balls. To ensure light, fluffy matzo balls, take care not to press mixture too firmly when forming balls.
Using a slotted spoon, gently drop balls into simmering water and cook, turning occasionally, for 35 minutes or until balls almost double in size and are cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towel. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Alternatively, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours or until needed.
To reheat soup, skim fat from surface and place half the soup in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and season. Divide reserved carrots and matzo balls among bowls and ladle over soup. Freeze remaining soup in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
• Matzo meal is available from the kosher section of selected supermarkets.
Photography by Alan Benson.