2011-04-14 / Features

Trying New Foods Part Of The Fun For Foodies

Chicken With Matzo Dumplings Chicken With Matzo Dumplings Trying new things is what food lovers are all about. The excitement of trying a new dish or experimenting with an old favorite is an experience unlike any other. In addition to tantalizing your taste buds, trying new foods can also open your eyes to different cultures, and not just their cuisine. Eating foods of different cultures often teaches people about those cultures, including their history and any customs and traditions they might have when it comes to breaking bread.

Those who want to experience Jewish cuisine will soon learn it is both varied and delicious. In addition, Jewish food can be very nutritional, including the following recipe for “Chicken With Matzo Dumplings” from Michael van Straten’s “The Healthy Jewish Cookbook” (Frog, Ltd.).

Chicken With Matzo Dumplings
Serves 4-6

For the broth
1 leftover chicken carcass, all skin
and fat removed
2 Spanish onions, 1 whole and unpeeled, the other peeled and chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, with leaves if possible, coarsely chopped
4 bay leaves
1 large spring of rosemary
2 large sprigs of thyme
1 large sprig of sage
4 large sprigs of parsley
12 white peppercorns

Note: You can use good-quality, lowsalt kosher chicken stock cubes or bouillon powder, but the recipe above for homemade broth is recommended.

For the dumplings:
7 ounces medium matzo meal
(about 8 matzo sheets, ground up)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf
3 grindings of black pepper
2 pinches of salt

First, make the broth. Put the carcass in a large pot and cover with about 21/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, return to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, reserving the broth.

Make the dumplings by mixing all the dumpling ingredients together, then knead until you have a smooth dough, adding a little water if necessary. Cover and let rest for at least 3 hours.

Using your hands, form the mixture into balls the size of apricots.

To put it all together, bring the chicken broth up to simmering point. Drop in the dumplings and continue simmering, covered, for 30 minutes.

If you don’t have a chicken carcass, boil a whole chicken for the soup and use the meat in other dishes. Traditionally, a boiling fowl from a kosher butcher would be used.

Health note: This is the famous “Jewish penicillin” beloved of every mother and grandmother. It’s not an old wives’ tale; there’s good scientific evidence that it contains vitamins, minerals and other natural chemicals that are antibacterial and immune-boosting. In addition, nutrients and valuable plant chemicals are extracted from the vegetables and herbs during the cooking process, most of which end up as active ingredients in the finished soup.

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