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Be inspired every day with Living North
Table Manners - Ola O Smit Photography
March 2020
Reading time 5 minutes
Lennie: Every Jewish family thinks their mother’s chicken soup is the best. In emergencies, I have been known to send my soup across London in a taxi, because this ‘Jewish penicillin’ most definitely has healing qualities.
6 (about 2 litres)
  • Matzo balls:
  • 100g medium matzo meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder pinch of salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 4 tbsp hot Chicken Soup or boiling water
  • (Makes about 15 balls)
  • Soup:
  • 2kg chicken thighs and legs
  • 5 large onions, skins left on, halved, cutting off the rooty bit
  • 8 carrots, sliced about 2–3cm thick
  • 4 celery sticks, with leaves, halved
  • 1 leek, halved
  • 1⁄2 swede
  • 2 tbsp Telma Chicken Soup Mix (available from a kosher shop or online), or 2 good- quality chicken stock cubes
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns 1 tsp salt
  • Matzo Balls, to serve

To make the matzo balls:

1. Put all the dry ingredients for the matzo balls in a bowl, gradually stir in the eggs and oil and then gradually add the chicken soup, mixing until smooth. Cover the bowl and chill for 30 minutes – it will firm up slightly.

2. Line a tray with baking parchment. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.

3. Wet your fingers and take small pieces of the mixture to make soft balls, about 2cm in diameter, placing them on the lined tray until you have used up all the mixture.

4. Drop the balls into the boiling water, turn down the heat and gently simmer for about 20–25 minutes until they are soft. They should swell up slightly, rise to the surface and look like little clouds. Lift out using a slotted spoon.

To make the soup:

1. Put the chicken and all the vegetables in a stockpot or very large pan (about four litres capacity) with enough cold water to cover everything by about 5cm (about three litres) and bring to the boil. When boiling, skim off all the frothy scum until there is none left. Add the soup mix or stock cubes, the peppercorns and salt, bring back to the boil and then reduce the heat and gently simmer for two to three hours.

2. Season the soup to taste, then leave to cool. Pour the soup through a colander into a large bowl. Carefully retrieve the carrots from the colander and add back to the soup. Give everything else a good squeeze to release the juices. Some people put a little of the chicken into the soup, but I’m not sure it has much taste after being boiled for so long – and you will make your cat/dog very happy if you give them the bone-free chicken meat.

3. Put the clear soup and carrots into the fridge for at least two hours or overnight. When it’s well chilled the fat will rise to the top and you can easily skim it off. To serve, bring the soup to the boil over a medium heat and add your cooked matzo balls just before serving.

Extracted from Table Manners: The Cookbook by Jessie and Lennie Ware (Ebury Press, £22)  Photography by Ola O Smit

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