Button Soup

Piping hot matzoh ball soup, fresh challah with salted Irish butter…Mom would be pleased!

Last weekend my sister came over; we pulled out my big stock pot and spent the whole day (punctuated by cookies breaks and catnaps) leisurely making our mom’s good ol’ Jewish Matzoh Ball Soup.  We jokingly call it “button soup” after a short story we used to read: An old woman traveling takes shelter at a poor and grumpy old man’s house. She ends up making the old ungrateful bastard man a scrumptious soup with a button as it’s first and most important ingredient.  Like button soup, matzoh ball soup is a peasant soup, simple and modest in it’s composition, making nothing more comforting. It’s a great time to share this recipe especially with the turkey surplus we’re all about to experience.

Mom’s recipe ( adapted from her Grandma and Aunt):

Matzoh Ball Soup

I learned how to make this soup as I have many dishes from my Grandma Ida and my Aunt Josie.  Having said this, these recipes are never exact, never measured rather “eye-balled” and approximated.  So, this is my way of saying, I too add a little of this and a bit more of that ….and so will you.  The most important ingredient is that you make it with love!  Here is the best I can do without showing you.

For a Large Pot of Soup:

  • A whole kosher chicken, rinsed off and patted dry, or alternately pieces of chicken with bones 6 to 9 leg/ thigh combos (boneless breasts would be too dry and stringy)
  • ** Two different ways:   I put in 8 cups of Swanson chicken broth and 8 cups of College Inn Chicken Broth into the pot bring to a simmer, add the whole chicken breast side down.  Add enough water or more broth, if necessary, to cover chicken and come up to fill ¾ full of your soup pot. ** (Of course Grandma Ida just used water, especially with the kosher chicken as it is already salted, hence the reason I am having you rinse and pat it) but you would then need to add chicken bouillon, probably 2 tablespoons or to taste.  I like my way better, I must admit.
  •  Add to pot with the chicken in it:

-2-3 rough chopped medium sized yellow onions
-2    sliced and peeled parsnips
-3-4 stalks peeled and cut up celery
-4-5 peeled and sliced carrots
-3-4 crushed garlic or a couple more if you have a cold

  • Don’t add yet, Set aside:   4-5 Tablespoons of very well washed parsley (no sand, uh!) well chopped, to add in the last 15 minutes.  Pretty much for color.
  • Cover and simmer for probably 2 to 2 ½ hours.  Check on it, stir every once in a while and test along the way.  Skim off any creepy stuff that may or may not float to the top and discard….of course.
  • At the end you can remove the chicken, cool it, disassemble, cut it up and add back into soup.
  • Serve with either wide egg noodles already prepared separately or Matzo balls…Yum!!

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