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Matzo Ball Soup

1 large, fresh frying chicken (3 1/2-4 pounds)
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch dice
3-4 small, sweet carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 ribs of celery, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 bunch fresh dill, leaves plucked and coarsely chopped
Salt to taste

2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chicken cracklings (grebenes), finely minced (optional)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/4 tablespoons soup stock (or water)

Trim off neck flap all the way up to the apex of the wishbone. Trim
fat and skin from around the back cavity of the chicken; reserve
both for schmaltz and grebenes. Cut chicken into quarters. Place
in large pot with onions and cover with about 4 quarts water. Bring
to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. Add carrots and celery;
simmer an additional hour. Season to taste with salt. Remove
chicken pieces and reserve them for another use, or shred the meat
for the soup. Keep the chicken covered and at room temperature
before shredding.

Cut reserved skin and fat into 1-inch dice. Cook in heavy-bottomed
skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally. Make sure the pan
never gets so hot as to cause the rendered fat to smoke. When the
grebenes are crisp and brown, remove them to a cutting board and
drain schmaltz into a small nonplastic bowl to cool slightly. When
cool enough to handle, mince the grebenes finely.

Blend fat (or oil) and eggs together. Mix matzo meal and salt
together. Combine the two mixtures and mix well.

Add soup stock or water; mix until uniform. Add 2 tablespoons of
minced grebenes if desired. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator
for 20 minutes. Bring soup (you may wish to divide it into two
pots if you're planning to make a lot of matzo balls) to a boil.
Reduce flame and drop balls approximately 1 inch in diameter into
the slightly boiling water. Cover pot and cook 30 to 40 minutes.
Keep the pot covered!

After the matzo balls are cooked, add the chopped dill and shredded
chicken. Allow chicken to heat through - 2 minutes or so. Serve

Recipe makes 8 medium matzo balls and 3 quarts of soup. You may
wish to double the recipe for matzo balls.


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