Each eager to prove himself right, the friends headed to their respective homes and phoned their respective grandmothers. When they were through being berated for not calling often enough, each asked for the family recipe for matzo balls. All over the country, Bubbies hemmed and hawed, then made hasty breaks from the phone.
The friends blamed their Bubbies' odd behavior on the affects of forgetfulness and age, and then called their mothers. When they were through being berated for not calling often enough, each asked again for the super secret, super special family recipe--only to be left even more confused when their mothers responded with uproarious laughter. The friends waited for their mothers to collect themselves (assuming there was an oft told story attached to the recipe, as tends to be the case), pens poised over notebooks. Finally the collective mothers finally pulled themselves together long enough to say, "Manischewitz".
Bubby's Secret Matzo Ball Soup
1 whole chicken, ~5 pounds
1 large onion, quartered and peeled
4 carrots, quartered and peeled
4 ribs of celery, quartered, leaves reserved
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped
Remove the giblets from the chicken, rinsing out the cavity after. Place the rinsed chicken in a large stock pot, along with the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Add enough water to cover the chicken.
Over medium-high heat, bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot, then reduce the heat to low and simmer about 3 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and falling apart.
Carefully remove the chicken from the pot to a carving board or rimmed baking sheet.
Strain the broth through cheesecloth into a large bowl, then discard the vegetables. Rinse out the pot you cooked the chicken in, then pour the strained broth back into the pot. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper as desired.
Using your hands or two forks, pick the chicken off of the bones and put it into the broth. Cover and simmer over low heat an additional hour.
Follow the package directions to mix the matzo balls (make both packages that come in the box). Once they have been chilled and then formed into balls, remove the lid from the pot and increase the heat to medium-high to bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the chopped celery leaves.
Drop the matzo balls into the broth and then cover with the lid. Reduce the heat back to low and simmer until the matzo balls are puffy and floating, about 20 minutes.
Enjoy! And don't tell anyone my family's secret recipe, that is, unless you're prepared to find out that it's your Bubby's secret, too. ;-)