Chef and restaurateur Vivian Howard, star of the Peabody Award-winning PBS series "A Chef's Life" and author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South" (Little, Brown), says there is something to the popularity of soups and broths as a curative culinary art.
Howard offered "Sunday Morning" several favorite recipes for dishes that nourish and satisfy, slurp for slurp.
Benny's Matzo Ball Soup
1 Whole Chicken
1 large onion, quartered
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
1 cup matzo meal
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp flat leaf parsley, minced
3 Tbs. schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) - see * below
3 Tbs. chicken broth
6 sprigs dill, picked
For the Soup:
In large stockpot, add whole chicken with remaining soup ingredients and enough cool water to cover chicken by 2".
Bring broth to a simmer and cook on low for about 1 ½ hours until chicken is cooked through.
Skim fat off the top off the broth, reserving 3 tablespoons for matzo balls.*
Remove chicken and allow to cool. Shred meat and set aside.
Strain remaining broth, discarding solids. Return back to pot and add shredded chicken. Return to a simmer.
Assemble matzoh balls:
In a medium bowl, combine matzo meal in addition to remaining ingredients through parsley.
In separate bowl, whisk reserved schmaltz and chicken broth with 4 eggs.
Add to matzo meal mixture and stir until well combined. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 15 minutes.
With damp fingertips, roll golf ball sized matzo balls using all the matzo meal mixture.
Once complete, use a spoon to place matzo balls into simmering stock one at a time. Once all balls have been added, cover soup and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
To serve, fill bowls evenly with broth, shredded chicken and a couple matzo balls. Garnish with dill and serve immediately.
For more info:
- "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South" by Vivian Howard (Little, Brown), in Hardcover and eBook formats; Available from Amazon
- "A Chef's Life" (PBS)
- Chef & the Farmer Restaurant, Kinston, N.C.
- Boiler Room, Kinston, N.C.
- Benny's Big Time Pizzeria, Wilmington, N.C.