“Houses used to have a smell — the smell of a Polish house, a Moroccan, or a Romanian house,” Hagit Bilia, the woman behind the popular blog Liza Panalim, said at our recent storytelling event Schmaltzy. As the daughter of a Moroccan father and a Polish mother, knew the smells of both cuisines well. But, when she had to choose a dish that was burned in her memory for Schmaltzy, she chose a chicken soup with kreplach from her aunt Paula who was a surrogate grandmother to her.
2 chicken thighs, excess fat removed (skin on, only the edges removed)
4-5 chicken wings
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 zucchini, roughly chopped
2 whole medium-sized white onions, peeled
2 whole potatoes, peeled
3 celery stalks with the leaves, roughly chopped
1 parsley root
⅓ bunch dill
⅓ bunch parsley
8 whole black peppercorns
1 heaping tablespoon sea salt
For the kreplach dough:
2½ – 3 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the kreplach filling:
3 tablespoons oil
300 grams (1½ lb) ground chicken (or any other ground meat with a little fat)
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
1 cooked potato (from the soup), mashed
2 tablespoons chopped dill
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Prepare the soup: Place the chicken thighs and wings in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Scum and fat will float to the surface — drain the chicken, return to a clean pot and add the vegetables, herbs, and black peppercorns. Cover with 3 liters (3qt.) of water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 2 hours.
Add salt and simmer for 1 hour more. Taste the soup and season to taste. If a lot of the liquid has evaporated, add more water. Cool.
Strain to a clear broth. Reserve the carrots and zucchini for serving, and use the cooked potatoes for the kreplach filling (see below).
Prepare the kreplach dough: Mix the flour, salt, and eggs in a bowl. Add ½ cup warm water while continuously mixing into a slightly sticky dough that is easy to work with (add a little flour or water if necessary). Lightly oil your hands and knead the dough for 4 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare the kreplach filling: Heat the oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the carrot and fry until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground chicken, salt and dill and fry over a high heat until the chicken is cooked through and the mixture is crumbly.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the mashed potato and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Cool.
Assemble thekreplach: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to 3-mm/ 1/8-in thick (you can also divide the dough in half, working with one half at a time). Using a 4cm/1½-in round cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles. The dough might shrink but is flexible and easy to stretch out.
Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle, fold into a half crescent and press the edges firmly to seal. Connect the two pointy edges together, tortellini-style, and press firmly to seal (in order to ensure the dumplings do not open when cooked).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong boil. Add 8 kreplach and cook until they float to the surface. Cook for another 2 minutes then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl using a slotted spoon. Mix the kreplach gently in the oil to evenly coat and repeat with the remaining kreplach, cooking them in batches of 8.
To serve: Heat the soup with the vegetables. Add the kreplach, cook for 2 minutes and serve.