Sunday, January 1, 2012

Making and Preserving Matzo Ball Soup

     The best way to sum up an easy way to make your own matzo ball soup is simply to make your best batch of chicken soup sans pasta or potatoes and replace them with matzo balls.  There are many, many recipes for creating your own variation of matzo balls with matzo meal and seasonings, but I simply use a mix combined with my own homemade soup.  My focus in posting this recipe is to encourage you to try something new with your basic chicken soup and demonstrate a way you can preserve it for later use.  This is a wonderful way to show your love and care for your family when they feel sick.  Be prepared!

      Basic Soup Ingredients and tools:
      Several chicken breasts (I used five bone-in, but you can use less, more,
      boneless, or dark meat)
      Your favorite soup vegetables:
      I use celery, carrot, onion, and garlic
      2 large cans of chicken stock, your own homemade if you prefer,
      or even water (to boil your matzo balls)
      Some chicken bouillon (in case you need to make your broth more concentrated)
      2 boxes of Manischewitz matzo ball soup mix
      (I loooove the flavor their seasoning adds to the soup!)
      cooking oil
      4 eggs
      a handful of dried parsley
      large stock pot
      cutting board
      Large spoon
      sharp knife
      a couple bowls
      several pint sized or quart sized canning jars
      pressure canner
      cookie sheet
      parchment paper
      freezer bag
      large slotted spoon



Ninety-nine cents a pound from the BiLo!



     First, fill a large stock pot with your chicken and cover with water.  The pot should be at least 3/4 full.  Boil 1-2 hours.  Occasionally take out meat and cut open to make sure it is cooked all the way through.  Try not to cook it more than you have to because your soup is going to get cooked again when you can it and you don't want chicken that looks like little pencil erasers! 
     If you plan on making all your soup the same day, you can chop all your veggies while it is boiling.  When your chicken is finished, remove from pot and place on a plate to cool.  You can pour your strained broth into containers and refrigerate or freeze to continue this project at a later date, or you can leave your broth in the pot and keep going!  I wanted to prepare the chicken the first day and continue later.


I boiled a total of five large chicken breasts.


I strained and poured my stock into two large ice cream containers after it had cooled a little.  During the summer months (when I don't make a lot of soup), I will melt my stock down and keep reboiling chicken in it for other recipes and make my stock even richer.


My husband is chopping and sorting the chicken for me because I had chopped the turkey for our pot pies that same day and I was a little TIRED.  Thank you, Scott!




These are the three bowls Scott sorted.  One is the meat from two breasts that I will use in the soup.  I love thick soups, but this one needs to be more "brothy" for sore throats and stuffy noses.  The rest of the breasts are in another bowl and will be placed in a freezer bag and frozen for use in other recipes like chicken salad.  The third bowl is for the doggies and consists of the skin, cartilage, and other yuckies.  The bones went into the trash.


The only place I could find this was at the Publix in the "Kosher" section.  They also have matzo ball mix without the soup flavoring, but I love the unique flavor of their mix.  Make sure you grab the right one!



Each box contains two packets.  The white one on the left is the matzo meal.  The brown one is the seasoning.  The directions are very simple and on the back of the box.  Simply pour package number one from both boxes into a bowl and add eggs and oil.






Cover and refrigerate for at least fifteen minutes.




While you wait, pour two containers of chicken broth into a large saucepan.  You can also boil your matzo balls in water, but I think this gives them more flavor.  On your table, cover a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.




When it is time to make the matzo balls, heat up your chicken broth to a rolling boil and take a spoonful of your matzo meal.  Form into a one inch ball and carefully drop into your boiling stock.



Continue this process until the bowl is empty.  Cover pot and boil the matzo balls for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Keep an eye on these little guys!  You may want to turn down the temp a wee bit and add some more stock or water as needed.  The matzo absorbs the liquid quickly and you can easily scorch the bottom of your matzo balls if the liquid disappears.  THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!


When they are done boiling, carefully remove each one with a slotted spoon and place onto a cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for at least an hour.  The bottoms of my matzo balls were stuck to the bottom of the pot.  I had to scrape these off.  How embarrassing!


Once they have been frozen individually, you can throw them all together into a freezer bag and store in the freezer until needed.


Prepare all your veggies.  I chopped two onions, two stalks of celery, seven carrots, and added a couple teaspoons of minced garlic.


Pour your stock into a large pot and heat on the stove until boiling while you gather your bouillon, Manischewitz flavor packets, and dried parsley.


Ready to go!  Notice I do not have out my chopped chicken.  It is still in the fridge.  Since the chicken is already done, I will add it when the soup is finished, so my chicken doesn't overcook.

Add your chopped veggies to the chicken stock.

Your Manischewitz flavor packets -

.....and a handful of parsley.  Bring to a boil and then taste a small sample of your broth.  If it needs more flavor, add about a Tablespoon of bouillon at a time until you like the taste.

While your soup is boiling, get your canning jars ready.  I ended up using fourteen pint-sized jars and three quart-sized jars.


When the carrots are fork tender, turn off the heat and add your chicken.  Remember, the soup will cook some more when you can and/or reheat it.


This is my pressure canner.   If you have never used one before, find a friend who has to help you the first time.  I used my water bath canner to sanitize my jars and lids.  Some folks just run them through the dishwasher.  This soup MUST be pressure canned. Pints are processed for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Quarts are processed for an hour and a half.  These are done at ten pounds of pressure.  I was able to process about seven pints at a time.  I ran about three total batches for a total of about four hours processing. Remember that you'll have to wait about an hour between batches before you can remove the lid from your canner because it has to depressurize. That comes to about eight hours canning soup!  This is why you may want to break up your canning projects.  Calculate your time the best you can before you get started or you may be up all night like me!  (I always do that!!!!!!)  I try to do major projects like this while my kids are not homeschooling.  I was able to sleep in a little the next day (but not nearly as much as I would have liked!)

Soup doesn't look nearly as pretty as preserves do in a jar, but it sure tastes good!  These guys are waiting for their turn in the pressure canner.  I keep my water bath canner boiling in between processing batches so I can sanitize the lids and place the tops on immediately before they go into the pressure canner. I have learned that if I put tops on a hot product too long before processing, the lids might "pop" too early and then it can goof up the seal on the lid later.


I finished at about 3:30 in the morning because I got a late start!  After the jars cool a little, label them and write the date on the top.  They should be good for at least a year and a half, but they won't last that long with hungry children in the house!
To reheat, take a matzo ball out of the freezer and thaw for about an hour.  Open a jar of soup and reheat with the matzo ball in the soup.  Serve with a box of kleenex and a glass of ginger ale with a bendy straw, and a lot of TLC.  I calculated that I have only one matzo ball per pint and my kids like two, so I'll have to freeze some more matzo balls!


She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household,............And her lamp does not go out by night.  Proverbs 31: 15,19

~Jennifer


 

2 comments:

  1. That's about right. Perhaps more like 1 1/2 . (see second to last photo) Fill it to the bottom of the rim. Sorry for the late reply!

    ReplyDelete