Jamie's America. I love most of his really rustic recipes -From Navajo bread to prawn jambalaya... You can find all colours and most flavours of America. The reason I like this book is not just for recipes ( there are some that I'll never taste such as Luisianian alligator dishes or some that are just not appealing to me!), but more for it's variety of dishes which helps to learn more about different communities which all add flavour to the Melting Pot.
This time I tried making a simple chicken soup by using Jamie's favourite combination ( I believe influenced by his love for Italian cuisine) - celery, carrot and onion ( Italian trinity?! or American Trinity?!). Still I skiped one very important part of the soup, which I believe really adds Jewish touch - 'Schmatz' and it is the Yiddish word for chicken fat, which makes the matzo balls in the soup. I couldn't make myself collect chicken fat and do anything with it, therefore, it turned out just a simple and light chicken noodle soup. Still very delicous!!! But below I'm writing the original recipe from Jamie's America so give it a go even with those matzo balls. Maybe I'll do those matzo balls one day myself as the original picture in the book looks absolutely delicious... Just have to overcome that fat thing...
What we need:
2,5 kg chicken ( I used pieces of chicken breasts and legs for a lighter version)
3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 fresh bay leaves
a few springs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 handfuls of Jewish fine egg noodles or spagheti, broken into bits
1 small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small bunch of fresh dill
For the matzo balls:
4 large eggs
4 tbsps of chicken fat
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
130 g matzo meal ( or matzo crackers, blitzed to fine powder)
What we have to do:
1. Rinse the chicken and put it into a big pot. Cover with cold water. Bring it to boil, then turn down and simmer for 30 min. Skim the froth off the top of the chicken.
2. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme springs, and season with a good pinch of salt. Bring it to boil and again simmer for 1 hour. Carry on skimming the broth, reserving 4 tbsps of this fat for matzo balls.
3. To make matzo balls, beat the eggs and add 70 ml of cold water, cooled chicken fat, salt and pepper. Beat it again and slowly stir in matzo meal until blended. Leave covered with a clingfilm, in the fridge for 30 min, then wet your hands in water and roll the dough into 20 small balls. Make them small as they double in size when they cook.
4. What the soup has had its hour and a half, use tong to remove the chicken to a roasting pan. Leave to cool. Remove the soup from the heat and strain it through the sieve or colander. Pull out the decent looking bits of vegetable and put these back into the soup, getting rid of anything else.
5. Put the pot on a medium heat and bring back to boil, then add the matzo balls. Put a lid on, turn the heat down and simmer for 20 min. Halfway through the 20 min, add noodles or spaghetti and cook gently for the final 10 min.
6. When chicken has cooled, shred the meat off the bone. Pile it onto a plate and get rid of skin and bones. Pick the leaves from parsley an dill and roughly chop them. Add the meat back to the soup, along with the chopped herbs and warm through for 3 min. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot!!!