A recipe to accompany this story on The Secret to Better Matzo Balls.
- 15 minutes prep, 6 hours of cooking
- One chicken, cut up in eighths, or 4 to 5 pounds of chicken parts (necks, stomachs, wings)
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 medium onions (root end cut off, but the skin left on; it colors the soup golden), sliced thinly
- 6 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
- 12 whole peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch parsley or dill or both
- 3 to 6 stalks of fresh thyme
- 2 1/2 quarts of water, or more, enough to cover the chicken and vegetables
- Put all the ingredients into a large stock pot, making sure there’s enough water to cover. Put pot cover on. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer.
- Using a slotted spoon, skim off the scum that forms on the surface.
- Simmer as slowly as possible, so that the occasional lazy bubble breaks the surface. Do not stir or disturb. Check the level of the soup, making sure the surface of the chicken and vegetables is below the soup line, but only barely.
- After 6 hours of simmering (if more, that’s OK; even overnight is OK), remove the chicken and vegetables. Discard the onion and celery; keep the chicken and carrots.
- Strain the soup and chill it. When chilled, remove the fat from the top.
- Shred the chicken. Add to the soup, along with reserved carrots, and matzo balls, if using.
- Heat soup, taste it — it may need salt — and serve.