Best Chicken Soup With Matzo Balls
1 large chicken (preferably kosher)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
2 celery stalks, each cut into 8 pieces
1 bouquet garni (cheesecloth filled with 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 10 whole black peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Garnish: fresh dill sprigs or small dice of carrot and leek
2 tablespoons melted chicken fat (reserved from recipe above)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 tablespoons chicken soup (recipe above)
2 tablespoons chopped dill (optional)
Wash the chicken and remove any innards, and place in a 5-to-8-quart soup pot. Add the vegetables and bouquet garni and enough cold water to cover the chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 and 1/2 hours, making sure the soup does not boil. The chicken meat should fall off the bone easily; if it does not, continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the soup through a colander into a pot of similar size and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Skim the fat from the top of the soup, reserving for matzo-ball recipe (see below). Reheat the soup, and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
Mix all the ingredients, plus 1 teaspoon of salt, together in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Fill a 5-to-8-quart pot three-quarters of the way with cold water, and bring to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons salt. With cold, wet hands, form the matzo mixture into 8 balls. Drop, one at a time, into boiling water. Cover, and boil gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the balls from the water with a slotted spoon, and place in the seasoned chicken soup. Reheat 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Do not heat for too long, or the matzo balls will start to disintegrate.
Note: Matzo balls can be made 4 hours in advance and kept warm in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Do not refrigerate; they will harden.