New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Matzo Ball Soup

I made my very first Matzo Ball Soup yesterday. In the crockpot.

I called my friend Jennifer and she talked me through how to make the broth and Matzo dough--she's not gluten free, but after a lot of googling and texting to confirm my hard-core journalistic researching I figured out what I should do.


[insert Crush voice from Finding Nemo] I SO TOTALLY ROCK.

This is a 2-day process, or at least a really, really full day process. First we're going to make the homemade chicken broth/soup.

The Ingredients
serves 6-8


3 pounds bone-in chicken parts
2 onions, peeled, cut into quarters
6 cloves garlic, peeled with cloves intact
1 cup baby carrots
3 ribs celery, cut in large chunks, leaves okay
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 cups water
1 package gluten free matzo ball mix, or make your own (recipe below)

gluten free matzo balls
makes 8-10 or so

1/2 cup finely ground almond meal
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons dill
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Use a hand-held or stand mixer to blend the ingredients together to form a dough. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before using in soup.

The Directions
Use a 6-quart slow cooker.  Place the chicken into your slow cooker. I used chicken quarters, and did try to take as much of the skin off as I can (because of my weird issues). Add vegetables and seasoning. Pour in a bunch of water (4 cups per pound of chicken)—be careful, your pot will be quite full. Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Unplug the slow cooker, and let it sit for 3 hours, or until the meat is cool enough to handle.

Remove meat from pot, and discard the bones. Scoop out the vegetables and set aside. Some people prefer their matzo soup to be simply broth, some like chunks of meat and vegetables—it’s up to you. I decided to get rid of the onion and celery (the garlic kind of melted into a paste), but kept the chicken and carrots.  

Strain the broth through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve to remove the peppercorns and extra bits. Return the broth to the slow cooker.

Plug the cooker back in and cook on high for 2 hours. While the broth is reheating, mix the matzo dough (if using packaged matzo, prepare according to the written instructions).
Homemade matzo dough.  Don't handle it too much; you want it light and fluffy
Once your soup is hot, drop rounded spoonfuls of matzo into your slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and “bounces” in the broth when poked with a spoon.
the matzo balls bounce when you poke them with a spoon!
Serve and enjoy!

The Verdict
I must admit, since I've never had this soup before, I don't have anything to compare it to. But we liked it. The five in my family ate every last smidgen in our bowls, and I packaged up a little tupperware to send home to my mom and grandma. I really liked the dill flavor. Everytime I cook with dill, I'm reminded more and more that it's such an under-utilized herb in my pantry. I hope you enjoy this soup--I look forward to making it again and again in the years to come.

Thank you to Jennifer, for holding my hand (AGAIN)!

other recipes you might like:
chicken and dumpling soup
apple dumplings
honey cake
sweet mustard roast 
I just Spent The Whole Day on Pinterest...
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Jay said...

I don't know if your issues with chicken skin include chicken fat, but if you can tolerate the fat I'd substitute schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) for the Crisco in the matzah ball recipe. I usually cook them for at least 45 minutes in water at a simmer before I put them in the soup.

And I need to make another batch, since I left the remains of Friday's seder soup and matzah balls at my mother's....

TC said...

I make my matzo ball soup in a huge pot--bigger than any slow cooker--because I make so much of it, but I can still give you a tip or two that will help make this less of a whole-day event (except for the cooking): Instead of waiting for the soup to cool and taking all the bits and pieces out of the crock and only THEN recooking with the matzo balls, just plop the balls in during the last hour of cooking time. Then, when it's time to serve, pour the soup into bowls through a strainer, and then let your guests/family choose which parts of the rest they want. Broth only with matzo balls? Chicken? Chicken and veggies? Everything? It's all there in the pot for you to distribute as needed!

Elizabeth Applebaum said...

I LOVE your blog, and especially this post.
I'm Jewish, and I've been making matzah ball soup for years, but never tried it in the crockpot. Now I will.
You DO so rock!

Mary N. said...

Oh no! You've exposed my grandmother's secret ingredient in her Polish chicken noodle soup. It's the dill! I love matzah ball soup. Can't wait to try this one!

Kalyn said...

Bookmarked! What a great idea.

Eileen said...

I'm sorry, Steph, but after reading all this, I'm going to a Jewish Deli, lol.

I've made this on the stovetop and it was delish. Will now try crocking it.

Thanks :)

LMC said...

Was there I specific need for gluten free matzo balls? Just curious. I am going to try the recipe in the slow cooker with the "traditional" matzo balls and see how it turns out.

Nancy said...

A short-cut I use is to put chicken bones and the onion (and anything else you don't want in the finished soup) into a cheesecloth bag. I then put boneless/skinless thighs directly in the crockpot with the other ingredients. When it's done cooking, it's easy to get rid of the bag and it's contents and leave the other ingredients in the soup.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

@LMC, we're a gluten free family. My 7-year-old was diagnosed with Celiac at 22 months. Use whatever matzo(ah) balls you'd like!

@Nancy, that is a wonderful suggestion!

Mandy said...

Oh...i am so excited to have found you...i am a mum to 6 and now decided to home school my youngest without the stress of cooking during that mad rush time....can't wait to peruse your

Carrie Broyles said...

Can you also make these Non-gluten free? I'd love to know how to. Thanks hon!

hoteluri balchik said...

I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Jill Brock said...

Hi Stephanie! Can you give me an alternative to the ground flax in your gf matzoh balls? I can't tolerate flax or chia. Thanks.

Stephanie ODea said...

Hi Jill,

good question! I think I'd try first by simply omitting it. Flax in baking actually mimics eggs, but I'm hoping since the egg is there that the egg with the almond flour is buoyant enough without the flax. I don't think it's necessary for flavor at ALL. It's only for a bit of texture and then to help with the floating.

skip it! and let me know how it works! ;-)

daniel decline said...

2 questions:
1. Did you cut up the carrots? Weren't they kind of big for a soup?
2. How do you think boneless chicken thighs would come out? Is there some added bonus to having bone in?

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