Tag Archives: Carrots

Dad’s Wontons Become Lettuce Wraps

My parents often cooked when we were kids, and they sometimes made recipes that exposed us to different cuisines.  Some we never cared to repeat and some became family favorites, with each sibling putting their own mark or twist on it.  Dad’s fried wontons served with a garlicky, ginger soy dipping sauce were a favorite because they tasted like real grown up food, highlighting vibrant flavors and crunchy textures.  He picked up the recipe while enrolled in culinary school in Texas and it was often a menu item for their backyard parties.  Ground beef, carrots, raisins and onions make up the filling and with Dad’s version it gets rolled into an eggroll wrapper (we still called them a wonton) and fried to a crispy golden brown.  With the soy dipping sauce drizzled on every bite, it was the ultimate savory and sweet combination. My deconstructed version has a crisp crunch from the butter lettuce, with all the flavor memories intact. Ground chicken or turkey can easily be substituted for the meat, just be sure to add extra seasoning.

A soy dipping sauce pulls all the flavors together and enhances the taste of this meal.  The salty tang of soy sauce is combined with spicy ginger root, rich garlic, oniony scallions and bright cilantro for a superbly delicious sauce! A spoonful for every bite is certainly warranted.

Here’s where the crispy wonton part comes into play. Instead of frying the whole meal as an eggroll, I thinly cut a few wonton (or eggroll, whichever you can find) wrappers into thin strips and fried them up in a small amount of oil. They provide the perfect crunch on top and remind me of the wonton taste. For those of you who aren’t familiar with butter lettuce, also known as Bibb or Boston lettuce, it has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor with thick leaves – perfect for lettuce wraps. I like to buy mine live (living greens) with the root ball attached and packed in a large clam shell, pictured below. It lasts for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator if the root ball is kept moist.

If you are yearning for something fried as I often do, here’s how to enjoy Dad’s original wontons: Simply heat your oil (about 2 ½ to 3 inches deep in a medium sauce pan with tall sides) to 350º and assemble the wontons: Add about 1/3 cup filling to the bottom half of an eggroll wrapper (a generous tablespoon for wonton wrapper), roll up like a burrito (for wonton: arrange wrapper with corner at top, place filling in the middle and fold in half) and seal the last edges well with a fingertip dipped in water, repeat process. Fry in small batches until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Let drain and cool slightly on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with the soy dipping sauce.

Eat well and share the love!

Dad’s Wonton Lettuce Wraps (print recipe)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies, makes 5 to 6 wraps

Ingredients:
Soy Dipping Sauce
½ cup soy sauce (low-sodium if available)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, skin removed
1 tablespoon sliced scallions
1 clove garlic, mashed whole
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Fried Wonton Strips
Vegetable oil
5 to 6 wonton wrappers or 2 to 3 eggrolls wrappers, sliced into thin strips
Filling
¼ medium yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
1 large carrot peeled and grated (about ¾ cup)
½ cup golden raisins
½ pound lean ground meat (or chicken, turkey)
2 to 3 tablespoons of dipping sauce
1 tablespoon cilantro, rough chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely minced/grated
¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon lime zest
Olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt
Pepper
Family Style Platter – Serve
4 to 5 whole leaves of butter lettuce
Wonton filling (keep hot until ready to serve)
Small bowl of Soy Dipping Sauce with spoon
Fresh cilantro leaves, from 4 to 5 sprigs of cilantro
Fried wonton strips

Directions:
Soy Dipping Sauce:  To a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add the soy sauce, ginger, scallions, garlic, cilantro and rice wine vinegar – mix well with a fork. Let the dipping sauce sit for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop. Can be made one day ahead, cover & refrigerate. (Sauce will keep in refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.)

Fry the wonton strips Add oil to a small sauce pan with tall sides, enough so oil is about 1 inch deep and heat to 350º over medium-high heat (do not leave pan unattended).  Cut the wontons into very thin strips and gently run your fingers through them to loosen.  Fry in small batches until lightly golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Let drain and cool on a plate lined with paper towels; season with salt and pepper while still hot.

Filling: In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil and the onions.  Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the grated carrots along with a few drizzles of oil and continue sauteéing for another 3-4 minutes, until carrots are almost tender.  Mix in raisins and transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add a few drizzles of oil and the ground meat, break up with the back of a spoon.  Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, mix together and continue to crumble meat as it cooks. When meat is done (no longer pink in the center), add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the grated ginger, cilantro and lime zest, stir well and mix in the onion carrot mixture, stir together until well combined and keep hot.

Family Style Platter – Assemble the Lettuce Wraps:
Using a large plate or medium platter, arrange the wonton lettuce wrap ingredients for serving.  To assemble a lettuce wrap, add some filling to the middle of the lettuce leaf, drizzle some soy dipping sauce, add a few cilantro leaves and top with wonton strips.  Finish with a bit more of the soy dipping sauce.  Fold the lettuce leaves down and over each other, and eat with your hands.

A recent summer sunset from our front deck!

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Quick Lobster Ravioli with Tarragon Butter Sauce

My grocery store recently had frozen wild-caught lobster tails on sale so I bought a few for a later indulgence.  These guys are small, 4.5 to 5 ounces each, and the perfect size for a scaled-down serving. The trick that makes the ravioli “quick” is using wonton wrappers instead of homemade ravioli dough.  Along with the lobster, the filling is the typical carrots, celery and onions with some corn and tarragon. But the taste is anything but typical!  The sautéed vegetables are a wonderful compliment to the rich, sweet lobster.  And the tarragon butter sauce puts them over the edge of goodness.  For future batches, I would give the butter a few more minutes in the pan for a brown butter sauce (gives a nuttier flavor).

To help with the task of getting the lobster meat out of the shell, I rely on my kitchen shears.  Just turn the lobster over and cut down the sides of the thin shell.  Then you can bend the shell open to reveal the wonderfully delicious treat waiting inside.  To quickly cook the meat, I chopped it up, tossed it with melted butter and broiled it for 4 or 5 minutes.  After the vegetables are sautéed, the lobster meat is stirred in and the filling is ready – all in less than 10 minutes!

The ravioli assembly goes quickly so you’ll want to have your water boiling and the butter melting before you start. To keep it simple, I use water instead of an egg wash. Brush the entire wonton surface so the top layer sticks to it (and doesn’t burst open during boiling).  Press the edges firmly closed with either your fingers or the tines of a fork.  The ravioli can be left as whole squares, or use a cookie cutter (2¾ inch diameter) for an elegant presentation.
In my book, these lobster raviolis are a perfect treat for either lunch or a light dinner.

Eat well and share the love!

Lobster Ravioli with Tarragon Butter Sauce
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies – makes 6 ravioli

Ingredients:
Lobster Tail
Meat from 1 small lobster tail, 4.5 to 5 ounces in weight
½ tablespoon butter, melted
Vegetables/Filling
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely diced carrots (about 1 small)
2 tablespoons finely diced celery (about ¾ of stalk)
2 tablespoons finely diced onion (about ¼ of an onion)
1 tablespoon frozen corn, chopped into smaller pieces
3 to 4 fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper
Ravioli and Sauce
1 tablespoon flour (for dusting cutting board)
12 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 to 5 fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
Garnish: Sea Salt, Fresh-cracked pepper

Directions:
Lobster:  Turn broiler to high, add ½ tablespoon butter to oven-proof dish and put in oven to melt. 

Using kitchen shears (or a sharp paring knife), turn the lobster over and cut along the edges of the thin shell and pull it back to expose the meat.  With both hands, grasp the sides of the lobster (fingers underneath, on the hard part of the shell) and bend out to break the sides and free the meat: if needed, gently cut away any connected meat on the sides.  Pull out the piece of meat, rinse well and remove any tamale (green) or remaining shell; pat dry with a paper towel. 

Roughly chop the lobster meat, add to the oven-proof dish and toss with the melted butter. Place under broiler (about 8 inches from element) and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until meat is white and no longer opaque.

Vegetables/Filling:  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the carrots, celery, tarragon and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add the onions and corn and continue cooking, stirring often, for 3 or 4 more minutes until onions are translucent and vegetables are soft.  Turn off the heat and add the cooked lobster meat.  Stir to combine and transfer to a bowl; let cool slightly.Reserve the skillet to make the butter sauce.

Ravioli and Butter Sauce:  Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Dust your cutting board with some flour and set up your assembly line: a ramekin filled halfway with water and pastry brush, a cookie cutter (2 ¾ inch diameter), the bowl of filling with a tablespoon measuring spoon, and the wonton wrappers (keep them covered with a damp paper towel).

When the water has come to a boil, return the skillet used for the filling to medium-low heat and add the butter and chopped tarragon.

Lay out 6 wonton wrappers on the cutting board, 2 rows of 3 wrappers, and brush the entire surface of the bottom (3) wontons with a light coat of water.  On the bottom row, place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each wonton.  Cover with the top wonton wrapper and gently press it on, making sure it’s well-sealed without any air trapped inside. Cut out a round shape using the cookie cutter; use your fingers or fork tines to firm press edges together. 

Add the ravioli to the boiling water and let cook for 3 minutes.  While the ravioli are cooking, increase the butter to medium-high heat and swirl pan often.  Transfer the cooked ravioli to plates and pour the butter sauce over them.    Garnish with sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper.

*******************************************************************
A visit to Phoenix earlier this month to celebrate Mom’s 70th Birthday:
Picture below: Mom after a great steak dinner on her birthday day (isn’t she beautiful?!)

Picture below: Mom and I at her dinner party buffet with family and friends (my job was the food; that’s a Brandy Old Fashioned in my hand, post kitchen duty!)
With Love, Happy Birthday to Mom!!

Friday Night Dinner, Writer’s Block and a Cookbook

Last week was busy and I had so many ideas for a blog topic that I had trouble deciding, delaying my post.  My mind was swirling with thoughts of fajitas, steak with roasted root vegetables, clam chowder, crostini for the Holidays and Thanksgiving side dishes – none seemed to inspire me.  I recently discovered that if the meal idea doesn’t resonate with me at the moment and spark those creative writing juices, then I am doomed to self-doubt of how I am going to inspire my readers, and myself.  It’s all a silly merry-go-round of writer’s block and fear of disappointment.  I fell back on a tried and true method: grill some sort of meat and roast vegetables to caramelize their flavor.  There was flat iron steak in the refrigerator and lots of vegetables so I was able to pull it all together: Herb and garlic marinated flat iron steak with a creamy horseradish sauce and roasted vegetables.

I was also busy with a re-shoot for my cookbook.  I’m lucky to have a friend who is a professional food photographer and she’s helping me achieve my dream of publishing a cookbook, and honing my skills as a food stylist.  We have been working on the project for over a year and just wrapped up the last of the photos.  Teri  has a sophisticated eye and is able to capture her subjects with stunning beauty; we can all see the beauty with our naked eyes, but translating that through a camera lens is another feat, one that I am still stumbling through.  We use only natural light and our normal set-up wasn’t working. We had to change gears and move the operations to my front entry, using my coffee table as a background; here is Teri working her magic, wearing one of my hats to shield her eyes from the glaring sun.

Now back to the Friday dinner, flat iron steak is cut from the shoulder and is also known as top blade steak (click here and here for more info).  It is a tender and flavorful cut that is great for grilling – tri-tip is another fantastic alternative.  It cooks quickly, works well with marinades and is best served medium rare.  For added flavor, I marinated the steak with a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic and dried herbs and let them all mingle for about 4 hours.  Rather than running to the store (a 30 minute round-trip trek) for fresh herbs, which I prefer for their brighter flavors, I gave myself a break and used the dried herbs in my spice drawer.  If you have leftover meat, make a sandwich: spread the horseradish sauce on the bread, add sliced steak along with some crispy lettuce and enjoy.

I made extra marinade and tossed it with the vegetables (carrots, sweet white onions and fingerling potatoes) before roasting, which added another layer of delicious flavor.  To ensure even cooking, be sure to cut the vegetables about the same size.  I also made an easy creamy horseradish sauce made from a generous dollop of horseradish, some mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, salt and pepper.   It was a perfect Friday night dinner and the writer’s block is gone, for now.
Eat well and share the love!

Flat Iron Steak with Creamy Horseradish Sauce & Roasted Vegetables
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serve two foodies, plus leftovers

Ingredients:
Steak & Marinade
1 pound flat iron steak
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (or ¾ teaspoon dried )
1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon (or ½ teaspoon dried)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Roasted Vegetables
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick diagonal pieces
1 medium sweet onion, halved and cut into slices and halved again
12 to 15 fingerling potatoes, cut into thirds or half depending upon size
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish
 ½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of fresh-cracked pepper

Directions:
Marinate and grill the steak:
Add the olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices to a small bowl and mix well. Place the steak on a large plate or dish and pour 2 tablespoons of the marinade on the steak (coat both sides) and rub into meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Heat the grill to high, season the meat well with salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice and serve with the roasted vegetables and creamy horseradish sauce.

Roast vegetables:
Add the cut vegetables to a large bowl and pour the rest of the marinade over the vegetables.  Toss well to coat, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour in the refrigerator. 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Transfer the vegetables (drain extra marinade) to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a 9 x 12 casserole dish, cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes until potatoes are just tender.  Remove foil, increase temperature to 425 degrees F and continue roasting until vegetables are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir well.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Sauce will keep in the refrigerator (covered) for 1 week.

  • Timing: when the foil is removed from the vegetables, start grilling the meat
  • Marinade: Fresh herbs provide brighter, more concentrated flavors that penetrate the meat more than dried herbs.  Rosemary is also a nice addition.
  • Tri-tip steak is a great substitution
  • Leftover meat?  Make a sandwich: Spread the horseradish sauce on the bread, add sliced meat and crispy lettuce.

Vegetable Shots at the Bergman’s

Believe it or not, I am still celebrating my birthday from earlier this month (lucky me)!  My gourmet friends, Holly and Kurt, invited us over for a belated birthday celebration last weekend and she served the coolest appetizers: Vegetable Shots.  They were strips of yummy veggies in a glass with ranch dressing at the bottom.  Holly got the idea from the magazine “Martha Stewart Living”, where they had different kinds of veggies in glasses on ice.  Holly’s set up was much more elegant than mine with silver rimmed glasses passed down from her mother, and beautiful glass-beaded cocktail spears that held the cherry tomatoes.  She used a gluten-free ranch dressing but here I made my own variation with a creamy herb peppercorn.

Any vegetables that you like can be used for this fun and unique appetizer. I liked what Holly included: peeled cucumbers, good pickles, carrots, yellow bell peppers and cherry tomatoes on those pretty little skewers.  We used to have a gourmet dinner group going and Holly and Kurt were involved; they both are excellent cooks.  Holly is one who pays attention to detail and sets a beautiful table that makes you feel like a special guest.  It’s always so fun to go over to their house for dinner.  The “boys”, Jensen and Cole, filled us in on swim team and teenage life.  The Bergman’s prepared a delectable feast for us and we would go back anytime! 

The veggie shots have some dressing in the bottom, for sinful dipping.  My favorite is ranch but I whipped together my own version with a slight variation – a creamy herb peppercorn.  It has mayonnaise, fine herbs (dried tarragon, parsley, chervil and chives), garlic powder, onion powder, fresh cracked pepper, milk, salt and pepper.  The consistency for this recipe is thicker for dipping; to use for a salad dressing, add 2 to 3 teaspoons more milk to thin out.  For a lighter version, sour cream or Greek yogurt can replace one quarter cup of the mayonnaise.  And leftover dressing can be used for tuna salad or as a sandwich spread.

These vegetable shots are a great choice for a simple and elegant appetizer during the upcoming July 4th weekend.  They are different, delicious, refreshing and fun.  Plus, everyone gets their own glass, so let the double dipping begin!

What’s next?  I’ll share recipe ideas (of course, dessert) for the upcoming holiday weekend.  Eat well and share the love!

Vegetable Shots
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two – adapted from recipe by
Holly Bergman
Serves two foodies

Ingredients:
Creamy Herb Peppercorn Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons fine herbs (dried tarragon, parsley,
chervil and chives)
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons milk (1 %)
Vegetables
1 large carrot, peeled (ends trimmed) and cut into thin slices
2 celery stalks, each cut in half and cut into three strips
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 to 3 thick pickle slices or cornichons, cut into strips
1 mini cucumber, peeled (ends trimmed) and cut into thin slices and then strips
6 cherry tomatoes (cherubs if available), skewer 3 each on a decorative skewer or cocktail fork
Optional: skewer of olives
Optional: rosemary sprigs for tomato skewers

Directions:
Creamy Herb Peppercorn Dressing:
Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk together until well combined.

Vegetables:
Peel and slice the vegetables and skewer tomatoes (and olives if using).  If you don’t have any fancy skewers or tooth picks, use a sprig of rosemary to skewer the cherry tomatoes.

Assemble:
In the bottom of two small glasses, add a good dollop of dressing.  Arrange the vegetables upright in the dressing.  Add a small amount of dressing in the middle and add the tomato skewers (and optional olives if using).  Keep chilled until served.

  • Organic celery hearts are great to use because of their size and flavor
  • Use dressing for a salad dressing: Add two to three teaspoons milk to thin, until desired consistency
  • Lower-fat option: substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt for ¼ cup of the mayonnaise
  • Gluten-free dressings can be found in your local grocery store

Passover Traditions: Adele’s Matzo Ball Soup

The first time I had matzo ball soup was in Tucson many years ago, during a Passover Seder dinner at my future in-laws home.  Up to that point my unique food experience with religion was watching others take a wafer dipped in wine or juice.  This Seder thing was a new experience for me – David’s family celebrated the holiday with some food that I had never eaten before: parsley dipped in salted water, hard-boiled eggs – again with salted water, pieces of matzo with fresh slices of horseradish root and charoset (an addicting mixture of chopped apples, dried fruit, spices and red wine), matzo ball soup, brisket and lots of wine.  I was in food heaven and taking part in a special, honored tradition of faith.  We have since moved away and today the recipes help us stay connected to the family traditions and carry them on from afar.  Thankfully, we have created new Seder memories with a dear group of friends and everyone has specific cooking duties for the evening.   We also bring the charoset and homemade horseradish to the Seder, both based on family recipes.  The soup recipe is from my late mother-in-law, Adele, and I am proud to carry on the recipe.  My only modification to the soup is the amount of chicken and vegetables I add back into the broth; I like more goodies than what she put in the soup.  One thing that still makes me smile today is when it came time to eat the gefilte fish (I tried it once, which was enough), I would always get a small plate of mini-meatballs instead.  I never asked for it but my little plate always appeared in front of me.  To me, matzo ball soup is total comfort food.  It is easy to prepare and most of the work is done in the pot.  The smells that permeate my home throughout the day are heartwarming.

The soup recipe is actually two-in-one; the first part produces a homemade chicken broth and the second gives you a soup. It uses a whole chicken, parsnips, leeks, carrots, onion and finished with fresh dill.  It’s all strained and reheated along with delicious matzo balls and the cooked chicken and vegetables.  Adele’s recipe calls for an “old chicken”, which she got from the kosher butcher.   I can’t find such a chicken so I use an organic bird – the closest you can get for flavor and quality.  I recommend using a whole bird (with skin on) instead of just thighs or breasts because you get more flavor.  To make it easier, ask your supermarket butcher (most meat departments are happy to do this for you if asked) to cut the bird up for you.  The chicken pieces are much easier to handle than a whole bird, and you can layer it in the pot with the vegetables.  I let the soup simmer for 2 to 3 hours in my 6 quart Dutch oven until the chicken falls off the bone.  For a lower fat option, I make the soup the day before, let it cool and refrigerate it overnight.  When chilled, a layer of fat collects on top, making it easy to scoop off before reheating.  David tells me his Mom used to save the fat for cooking later – a great example of using the whole bird and not wasting anything. 

Being somewhat a creature of habit, when I find something that works I usually stick with it; Adele used the boxed matzo ball mix and so do I.  If you can, select the reduced sodium version – it has over 50% less salt!  I follow the directions on the box with one change: olive oil instead of vegetable oil in the batter.  Be sure to cook them in water that is at a gentle rolling boil.  I once thought I could rush the cooking time by increasing the heat and ended up with disintegrated matzo balls, quite a mess.   I also thought I would try the pasta trick of using salted water to cook the matzo balls and it was a flavor disaster.  Use a large pot of water – these little inch-size balls of uncooked matzo (pictured here) triple in size when cooked.  I love the texture – firm yet light and fluffy.  When done cooking, they go right into the soup and absorb the flavors, similar to adding pasta to a sauce. 

In honor of family traditions and gatherings around food, here is a picture of Adele waving at a Passover dinner that we couldn’t attend; tulips were her favorite flowers.

This year Passover is from April 18 through April 26.  I have deliberately left out any religious explanations because I wouldn’t do the holiday justice.  If you would like to learn more, here are a few links:
What is Passover: Holiday and Observances

Judaism 101: Passover
Spertus Jewish Foundation
Wikipedia: Passover

Matzo Ball Soup
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies, plus leftovers

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (4 lbs.), cut into pieces
3 medium parsnips, peeled, top and end removed
  and cut in half
3 medium carrots, peeled, top and end removed
   and cut in half
1 medium leek, top and end removed; halved, cut into thirds and  
   washed well in bowl of water*
1 medium onion, halved and quartered
4 cups chicken broth (no salt added)
4 cups water, plus more if needed to cover
   completely

Salt
Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 package of matzo ball mix (will need 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons olive oil)

Directions:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a 6 quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, add a layer of vegetables to the bottom of pan and continue layering with the chicken and vegetables.  Add the chicken broth and water so that the ingredients are completely covered.  Cover and simmer over low heat for two to three hours until the chicken falls off the bone.

Remove all of the vegetables and chicken pieces from the pot and place in a large strainer inside a large bowl to capture the juices (return juices to broth when done).  Strain the broth by passing a flat strainer through it a few times.  You can serve the soup at this point (see next paragraph) or let it cool, cover and refrigerate overnight to skim off the extra fat.  When the chicken meat has cooled, remove all of the meat from the bones (light and dark meat) and discard the bones.  Save three to four pieces of the carrot and parsnip for the soup.  Store meat and vegetables in a sealed container and refrigerate to finish soup the next day.

If eating the next day, reheat the soup and make the matzo balls:  Skim the layer of fat off the broth and reheat while cooking the matzo balls (cook according to package directions in a separate pot and add to the soup when done).  Slice the reserved carrots and parsnips into thin rounds and add back into the soup along with desired amount of shredded chicken – I use about 1 cup.  Add 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste.   Serve hot with two to three matzo balls per bowl.

  • Save the extra shredded chicken to use for another meal

* Note about leeks: This vegetable needs to be washed very well and thoroughly because it has lots of layers for the dirt to hide in. The best way I found to clean it is to put the cut pieces in a large bowl of cold water and swish around several times to remove the dirt. Be sure to get the outer leaves near the root too. Let sit a few minutes in the water to allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of bowl.