yemeni-chicken-matzo-ball-soup

Yemeni Chicken Matzo Ball Soup

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Chef Einat Admony, chef-owner of Taïm Falafel in New York and D.C., grew up eating this Yemeni chicken soup every Friday, and her family had a special version for Passover. “For seders at my old restaurant, Balaboosta,” Admony writes, “I served a riff on it along with other dishes that combine the cultures of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe and Mizrahi Jews in the Middle East and North Africa. Showcasing the flavors of where I come from serves as a bridge between Jewish cultures.” Admony likes to make the soup itself ahead of time; she then uses a portion of the broth to cook the matzo balls just before serving, which prevents them from getting mushy.

Ingredients

6 – 8 Servings

Hawaij

2

Tbsp. ground cumin

1

Tbsp. ground coriander

1

Tbsp. ground turmeric

tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1

tsp. ground cardamom

½

tsp. ground cloves

soup

8

skin-on, bone-in chicken drumsticks (about 2 lb.), patted dry

Kosher salt

2

Tbsp. vegetable oil

1

large onion, cut into ½” pieces

1

head of garlic, most of outermost skins removed, roots trimmed

½

small butternut squash, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces

3

medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1¼ lb.), peeled, cut into 2″ pieces

2

medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces

2

celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces

2

dried bay leaves

1

quart low-sodium chicken broth

½

tsp. ground cumin

½

tsp. ground turmeric

½

cup finely chopped cilantro

matzo balls

4

large eggs

¼

cup vegetable oil

2

Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

2

tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crushed, or ¾ tsp. ground fenugreek seeds

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1

cup matzo meal

Preparation

Hawaij

Step 1

Mix cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, cardamom, and cloves in a small bowl to combine.

Do ahead: Hawaij can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Soup

Step 2

Generously season chicken with salt. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (at least 7 quarts) over medium-high. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 12–16 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a plate.

Step 3

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to pot. Cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaves, broth, and 3 quarts cold water, then return chicken to pot. Cover and bring to a boil, skimming any foam from surface. Add cumin, turmeric, 2 Tbsp. hawaij, and ½ cup cilantro. Reduce heat so soup is at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is very tender and broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour.

matzo balls

Step 4

Whisk eggs, oil, cilantro, fenugreek, salt, a pinch of pepper, and ¼ cup broth from soup in a medium bowl to combine. Whisk in matzo meal; cover and chill dough until cold, at least 30 minutes.

Step 5

Working one at a time, shape dough into ping-pong-size balls (about a heaping tablespoonful each) and add to soup. Cook matzo balls until they have puffed up and look light, 20–30 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls to serve.

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