Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Chicken Matzo Soup by Jake Cohen

Photo: Matt Taylor-Gross

Roasted Chicken Matzo Soup by Jake Cohen

Jew-Ish_Jake Cohen

Excerpted from JEW-ISH: A COOKBOOK: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Photography © 2021 by Matt Taylor-Gross. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.  

26 March, 2021
Average: 4.2 (18 votes)

serves for


total time

1 HR 30 MIN


Matzo meal
2 cups
½ cup, melted
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons, plus more as needed
6 large eggs, beaten
Seltzer water
⅔ cup
Chicken legs
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on (4 medium)
1 pound (4 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound (4 large), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Yellow onion
1 medium, diced
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Freshly ground
Chicken stock
8 cups
¼ cup minced
Lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated

How do you like your balls? It’s one of the more divisive questions in the Jewish community. Obviously, I’m referring to balls of the matzo variety, but I’m happy to discuss all others in my DMs. The two schools of thought we shall debate today are small and dense or huge and fluffy. As you know, for every five Jews there about fifteen opinions, but this happens to be a topic that I don’t passionately take a side-on. My balls fall somewhere in between, greased up with a healthy amount of schmaltz. I want them to be fluffy and easily scooped with the touch of a spoon, while also modest in size, so I can have two, of course.

You can easily make these matzo balls and add them to my Saffron Chicken Noodle Soup, but I wanted to create a flavorful broth that was easy to throw together, since if you’re making matzo balls, you’re probably cooking up a storm for entertaining, a holiday, or both. By roasting the chicken legs and vegetables first, you’re able to fortify the golden broth faster while imparting even more flavor. And you better believe I have chunks of chicken and vegetables in my broth.  There’s nothing sadder than matzo balls served in chicken soup without any of the chicken, so I’m giving you all the meat you deserve.


Step 01

For the matzo balls: In a large bowl, stir together the matzo meal, melted schmaltz, dill, salt, and eggs until smooth. Gently stir in the seltzer until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 02

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Scoop the chilled matzo mixture into ¼-cup balls, using wet hands to roll them until smooth. You should have about 14 matzo balls. Gently add the matzo balls, one at a time, to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until fluffy and tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes, then keep warm until the soup is ready.

Step 03

For the soup: While the matzo balls cook, preheat the oven to 450°F.

On a half sheet pan, toss together the chicken legs, carrots, parsnips, onion, olive oil, and a heavy pinch each of salt and pepper, then arrange the legs skin-side up on the pan. Roast for 30 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are lightly golden.

Step 04

Transfer the vegetables and chicken to a large pot and cover with the stock and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook until the chicken is extremely tender, about 30 minutes. Using a ladle, skim off any fat from the top of the liquid and discard. Remove from the heat and keep warm.


Step 05

Transfer the chicken legs to a bowl and let cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat and discard the skin and bones. Stir the shredded chicken, dill, and lemon zest into the soup, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  


Step 06

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked matzo balls to serving bowls, then ladle the soup over and serve.

Search Recipes

Eggplant with Egg Yolk, Black Garlic and Cherry Blossom by Flynn McGarry

Eggplant with Egg Yolk, Black Garlic and Cherry Blossom by Flynn McGarry

Next Recipe