Duff Goldman’s Snap Crackle Poppin’ Matzo Balls with Chicken Soup
Credit for this snap cracklin’ recipe goes to Duff’s mom, Jackie, who feels strongly that matzo ball soup should not be relegated to Passover. If you’re feeling ambitious, try your hand at rendering chicken fat for homemade schmaltz, just like Jackie does.
For the matzo balls:
2 cups Rice Krispies
3 extra large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 heaping tablespoons strained and chilled schmaltz, homemade or store-bought (see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1. In a food processor, grind the Rice Krispies to a fine dust.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the water until just combined. Add the schmaltz, salt, pepper, and ground Rice Krispies, stirring gently with large wooden spoon just enough to coat the Rice Krispies well. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
4. Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Coat your hands with oil then roll the batter into compact balls, about the size of golf balls.
5. Gently release the balls into the water. At first, they will sink and stick just like real matzo balls. After about 15 seconds they will rise to the top. After they are all in the water, cover (allowing a bit of steam to escape) and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.
To make your own schmaltz, render plenty of chicken fat together with a diced yellow onion in a frying pan over low heat. Stir occasionally, adjusting the heat to brown the onions. When the pan begins to look dry, add about 1/4 cup of water, stir, and quickly cover so that the steam helps the onions plump and sweeten instead of burn. Do this a few times, as necessary, to brown the onions. Strain, cool, cover, and chill.
For the chicken soup:
12 pounds chicken wings
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon chicken base
1 chicken bouillon cube
Salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the chicken wings out onto roasting pans and roast in the oven until they are dark and the skin looks crunchy, about 40 minutes. Halfway through, add the onion, carrots, and celery and continue to roast. (If the vegetables begin to burn, remove those from the roasting pans and continue to roast the wings until they are deeply browned.) Remove from the oven and transfer the wings and vegetables to an 8-quart stock pot. Deglaze the baking sheets with a bit of water to ensure that all of that roasted flavor is in the soup. Add that deglazing liquid to the stock pot.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the stock pot and simmer for 3 hours.
3. Strain. Remove the chicken meat from the bones and add it back to the soup. Depending on your taste, you can also serve the soup with the carrots. Serve in a bowl with 2 of the matzo balls.