Rich Chicken Soup with Crackling Portobello-Stuffed Matzo Balls


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This is an interesting take on traditional matzo ball soup, with matzo balls that are stuffed with crispy crackling portobello mushroom bits.

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Gainesville, FL


  • 2 qt. canned best-quality chicken broth
  • 1 med. carrot, peeled, halved
  • 1/2 sm. onion, stuck with 2 whole cloves
  • 1 sm. rib celery, halved
  • Crackling portobello matzo dumplings:
  • 3 Tbs. rendered chicken fat or butter
  • Skin from 4 chicken thighs, cut with scissors into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, black gills and stems discarded
  • 1 med. white onion, with skin, chopped in large chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 C. chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 lg. eggs, beaten
  • 1 C. matzo meal
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

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Combine broth, carrot, onion and celery in a pan, bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes.

For rendered chicken fat, sauté chicken skin in a heavy skillet over low heat until the fat begins to melt (or use butter).

Meanwhile, cut mushrooms into 1/2-inch dice and add to chicken skin with diced onion. Raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin, mushrooms and onion are crisp and brown. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and sauté 2 minutes longer. Strain the rendered fat into a bowl and transfer cracklings to paper towels to drain.

Measure the rendered fat, if not using butter, adding plain oil if necessary, to make 3 tablespoons. Add broth, oil, salt, and eggs. Stir in the matzo meal, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Form batter into small balls, make an indent in each with a teaspoon and stuff with some of the cracklings. Close matzo mixture around the cracklings; repeat with remaining batter and cracklings.

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add matzo balls, cover, and reduce heat to medium and cook without raising cover for 20 minutes, or until the matzo balls have doubled in size. Scoop balls out with a slotted spoon. Serve matzo balls in hot broth in wide shallow soup bowls.

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