An overhead picture of a bowl of matzo ball soup with celery and carrots, accompanied by small crackers

The Chicken and matzo ball soup at Kenny and Ziggy’s exemplifies the deli’s bigger-is-better approach.

The food served during the eight-day celebration of Passover, which starts on April 15 this year, has deep symbolism. Matzo, for example, represents the unleavened bread Israelites ate as they fled Egypt. But this recipe from executive chef Ziggy Gruber makes for a nourishing delight that can be enjoyed any time of year.

Chicken Soup Ingredients

1 whole chicken
3 stalks celery
1 large onion, unpeeled
2 large carrots, peeled
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch dill, cleaned & tied with a string
1 bunch parsley, cleaned & tied with a string


1. Place ingredients in a pot; cover with water.
2. Let simmer for 75 minutes.
3. Remove chicken. When chicken cools, cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
4. Strain the soup, and discard everything solid except for the carrots and celery.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice carrots and celery and toss into soup. Add the matzo balls and chicken pieces if desired.

Matzo Balls Ingredients

4 large eggs
1/3 cup schmaltz (rendered
chicken fat)
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
or, even better, white pepper
1 1/3 cups matzo meal


1. Crack eggs into large bowl and beat with fork to mix thoroughly. Beat in the schmaltz, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
2. Stir in matzo meal, then mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until completely blended and very stiff.
3. Let stand for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 8 hours).
Fill a large, wide pot 3/4 full with water. Add remaining salt. Bring to boil over high heat.
4. Wet your hands with cold water so the batter doesn’t stick. Hold and roll the mixture between your palms. Shape into balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. They will double in size when cooked.
5. Gently place matzo balls in the boiling water. Decrease the heat so the water simmers briskly, but isn’t at a rolling boil, when the pot is covered. Cook for 25 minutes without removing the pot lid.
6. Remove cooked matzo balls with a slotted spoon and add to chicken soup.


Read More: Kenny and Ziggy’s in Houston Serves Up Deli Classics

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