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Passover—Remembering the Birth of a Nation

March 30, 2016

by: Janet Aslin, Assistant Editor

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Delicious Matzoh ball soup with crackers and dillIn her book, Jewish Holiday Style, Rita Milos Brownstein writes, “Perhaps no other holiday has as strong a pull on the Jewish soul as Passover [Pesach]. From the most observant to those with merely a nodding acquaintance with tradition, Jews everywhere are drawn to the seder table each year to retell the story of freedom and the birth of the Jewish nation.”

Just as no one ate alone at the first seder in history when the Jewish people were preparing to leave Egypt, today extended families gather for the dinner held on the first night of Passover. Although the haggadah booklet contains a specific set of information that must be discussed in a specific order, the meal (shulchan orekh שלחן עורך) which occurs toward the end of the retelling can vary greatly. Family tradition often dictates what is served; however, one requirement is that there be no chametz, or leaven, in any of the menu items.

Brownstein concludes her Passover introduction with these words. “With each Passover, each of us walks in the footsteps of history, sharing the message of hope. Walk with joy.” We invite you to try this delicious soup which is “kosher for Pesach.”

Green Passover Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Clear chicken soup with matzo dumplings (knedlach) is the most popular starter for the seder meal and one of the few Ashkenazi dishes to be adopted in practically every Israeli household. The following recipe takes a few liberties with this classic: the dumplings are enhanced with aromatic spices and cooked in a soup that welcomes the green vegetables of spring.


1 kg (2 lb 4 oz)          chicken and turkey parts and bones

2                                  onions, chopped

1                                  celery root, diced

3 tbsp                         oil

1/3 c                            dill, chopped

1/3 c                            fresh coriander, chopped

1/3 c                            fresh parsley, chopped

½ kg    (1 lb 2 oz)       fresh or frozen broad (fava) beans

2                                  potatoes, diced

2                                  leeks, white part only, sliced

1 tbsp                         turmeric (optional)

Salt and fresh ground white pepper


The Chicken Knedlach (Dumplings):

250 g (9 oz)               chicken breast, ground

1 c                               matzo flour

2                                  eggs

2 tbsp                         oil

2 cloves                     garlic, crushed

3 tbsp                         fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

½ c                              chicken stock or water


  1. Prepare the soup: Brown the bones with the onions and celery root and stalks in a saucepan with some oil. Add 3 liters (3 quarts) of water, the dill, coriander and parsley. Bring to a boil and cook for about one hour. Strain and retain the broth.
  2. Add the beans, potatoes and leeks to the broth and bring to a boil. Season and cook for 45 minutes over a low-medium heat until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Prepare the dumplings: Mix the ingredients and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Before serving: Bring the soup to a boil, form small balls of the dumpling mixture using two spoons or your hands, and slide into the boiling soup. Cook for 20 minutes and serve.

Serves 8–10


Source: Recipe from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur

Photo Credit: Ezume Images/shutterstock.com

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