During my long career writing about Jewish cooking, I’ve focused on finding lost recipes. But recently, a recipe found me.
Hanukkah begins on the evening of Nov. 28, after a long weekend of cooking and eating (and cleaning) for Thanksgiving. I’ll be with my adult children and grandchildren, and, of course, we will most likely have latkes and brisket. But even the most devoted latke lovers do not want to eat potato pancakes every night of the holiday, much less tidy up after preparing them. (I most certainly don’t like doing dishes.)
Still, the holiday calls for something festive and filling. So my ears perked up when, at the playground with my grandchildren, I heard a few mothers discussing recipes. One mentioned an easy chicken stew with dumplings that she had found online.
I was inspired! And immediately thought of a main course matzo ball soup. During this season, I thought, when young parents are so stretched, why not make it an easy, hearty one-pot dinner? You could swap out the dumplings for matzo balls and fill the pot with plump pieces of chicken and delicious vegetables for a meal that’s equal parts soupy and stewy.
I made it within days, adding fresh ginger and nutmeg to the matzo balls, an old German Jewish tradition. Herbs, like parsley or cilantro, also found in ancient Yemenite and Persian Jewish chicken soups, lend even more brightness to the broth.
The whole stew comes together in one pot and can be entirely made a day ahead. Thankfully, chicken soup and matzo balls, found in some form for thousands of years and beloved by both children and adults, improve on standing. All you have to do is warm this soupy stew up.
Recipe: Chicken Matzo Ball Stew
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