17 Mar Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls


Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

17 March 2022

PREP. TIME: 10 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 2 hours   -   Yield: 2 - 4 litres

My friend Margot taught me how to make chicken soup the way her mother made it. Margot is fun, practical and slips in all sorts of extra flavourings to get the very best taste of all. The soup was so delicious and calming I had to share it with you. Margot adds a litre of Massel plant based chicken flavoured stock to the cooking water and she cooks the Matzah balls in salted water flavoured with a Massel chicken stock cube. I think I also saw a few drops of Maggi seasoning being added to the final soup.

This recipe is a blend of Margot's countenance and that of Claudia Roden in The Book of Jewish Cookery.

The hardest part of this recipe is finding the Matzah ball mix. Look out for the Osem brand of Homestyle Matzah Ball Mix in continental grocers and supermarkets around Ripponlea, Caulfield and East St Kilda. You best be quick though as they will be sold out by Passover.

You can make the soup with a whole chicken or a selection of carcasses, feet, frames and necks. If using a whole chicken - remove it after 1 hour of cooking so as to not over cook the meat. Return the carcass and bones to the pot and continue cooking for another hour or so. The meat can be kept moistened with some broth and served as a second course or it can be kept and added to the soup with some of the vegetables.

Matzah balls are a heavenly addition to this classic Jewish soup. They are just one of the ingredients though that  you can can add to make to this wonderful family meal - see other variations below.

I store what is left in glass bottles or sealed containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Template


large fresh chicken - 1.5 - 2kg or 3 or 4 frames and 500g chicken wings, 4 necks and 6 chicken feet if you can get them.

1 large onion 

2 large carrot

1 leek 

1 or 2 sticks celery, chopped

1 parsnip

1 turnip

Fresh parsley stems

6 black peppercorns 


1 packet of Osem matzah ball mix or small pasta shapes


A chopping board

Vegetable peeler

Kitchen knife

Stock pot - approximately 5 litres

Large metal spoon for skimming

Large wire strainer

Large ceramic or glass bowl or jug - 3 - 5 litres

Metal tongs

Additional pot for cooking the matzah balls


Step 1

Place the chicken or the chicken pieces into the pot -  and add enough water to cover by 5cm.  You should use 2 - 3 litres of water.

Set the lid askew, turn the heat to medium and bring slowly to the boil.

Use a large metal spoon to skim any scum or froth that comes to the surface. Take care not to stir any of the scum back into the liquid.

As soon as the liquid starts to boil, slow it down to a slow simmer by lowering the heat. The surface should be bubbling gently.

Step 2

While the chicken is cooking - prepare the vegetables :
Peel and quarter the onion

Clean and roughly chop the leek into 3 or 4 pieces

Peel and chop into large pieces the carrot, turnip and parsnip.

Rinse the herbs and celery

Add the vegetables, herbs, some salt and peppercorns to the chicken pot.

Step 3

Cover and cook maintaining a steady simmer.
If using a whole chicken - remove it after 1 hour, remove the meat and return the carcass, bones and skin to the pot and continue cooking for another hour or so.

If using just bones and giblets - cook at a gentle simmer for at least 2 hours

Step 4

Remove the large bones and vegetables with tongs and strain the broth through a wire mesh strainer into a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables and arrange in a shallow dish - moisten with some of the warm stock. These should be eaten warm, drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Return the broth to the pot and gently reheat

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

If you are not using the broth straight away allow to cool completely, uncovered before refrigerating.

Step 5

Make the Osem Matzah ball mix;

Gently beat 4 eggs, add the mixture from the packet and combine well.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

With wet hands, mound the matzah mixture into balls the size of large walnuts. Place them apart - on a large plate.

Heat a large pot of salted water.

Add the matzah balls taking care not to crowd the pot. The balls take about 10 minutes to cook and they will expand significantly during this time.

After 10 minutes - cut one ball in half to check that it is cooked through.

Reserve until ready to use.

Step 6 to Serve;

Ladle some hot soup into a large shallow soup bowl.

Add a little of the chopped vegetable and some chicken if you have it.

Add 1 or 2 matzah ball per person.

Sprinkle with a little finely chopped parsley.

Serve very hot.

Variations to the broth

Cook half a small swede and a crushed tomato with the vegetables

The French add 2 bayleaves and a sprig of thyme

Add a pinch of saffron towards the end of cooking.

Variations for servince

If you cannot find a Matzah mix, small pasta shapes can be simmered in the broth just before serving.

Use the little squares, bow ties or  grated or chopped fresh pasta.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from Margot Wasserman and The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden

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