Dill-infused Chicken Soup with Herbed Matza Ball "Gnocchi"
Active time: 45 minutes
Start to finish: 3 1/2 hours
It was fun to come up with a creative, colorful alternative to traditional matza balls (not that there's anything wrong with those!). These little "gnocchi" bear some of the traditional hallmarks of the originals, but with a bright-green, herbal twist.
One 4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 lb. chicken wings
6 large celery stalks, trimmed
2 parsnips (about 3/4 pound), trimmed
6 large or 8 medium carrots (about 2 lbs.) peeled and trimmed
1 turnip, peeled
1 bunch leeks, green parts removed, whites cleaned carefully
1 bunch dill, tied with kitchen twine
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
Four cups (2 oz.) bagged spinach leaves
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup dill
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup matza meal
Rinse chicken parts and tie in a triple layer of cheesecloth. Place in a large (at least 8 quart) stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a vigorous simmer and boil, skimming foam and scum from top of soup, for about 10 minutes. Add celery, carrots, parsnips, turnips and leeks to pot. Fill pot with cold water, leaving 2 inches room at top of pot. Bring soup back to a boil, and skim an additional 5 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, place tied dill on top of soup, cover with lid, and cook soup for 2-3 hours, until broth is a light golden color. Uncover soup, remove dill and discard. Remove chicken parts in cheesecloth, place in a bowl and cool, draining any liquid back into soup pot. Open cheesecloth and discard wings and all chicken skin. Remove meat from bones, discard bones and shred chicken for soup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make Matza Balls:
Place spinach, parsley and dill in a food processor and process until very finely minced and almost liquefied, scraping down sides of processor once if necessary, about 20-30 seconds. Add eggs, and oil and process until all ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds. Remove mixture to a bowl and add matza meal and salt; stir until all ingredients are incorporated, then chill in refrigerator, covered, about 20 minutes. Using lightly moistened hands, take 1 tablespoon mixture at a time and roll unto 3- x 1/2-inch logs. Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut logs into 1-inch lengths. Bring 1 large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in three batches, lower "gnocchi" into water. Return water to a boil, reduce heat to a vigorous simmer, and cook until "gnocchi" are tender and cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from water using a slotted spoon. (Yield: 60 "gnocchi").
To serve, ladle soup and sliced vegetables into bowls, then add 5 to 6 "gnocchi".
Recipe © 2009 Adeena Sussman