Chickenless soup

Chickenless soup

This was our chicken soup issue – one recipe in the print version and three on the web. But vegetarians like soup, too – and matzoh balls: Yum.

So here is a recipe for chickenless soup. It’s labor-intensive – and dairy. But, especially for those who are new vegetarians, it’s a taste of home. This recipe is from that wonderful, now defunct, Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant. Parts of it can be made ahead.

First: Clarify butter.

Melt a pound of butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Skim off any foam, then pour the clear, oily butter into a container. Leave the milky residue in the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate till needed.

Second: Bake onions.

1 cup clarified butter

3 pounds onions, peeled and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the butter into the onions in a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until needed. (This makes 1 quart, and you’ll only need 1/2 cup for the soup. You can reduce proportions – or think of other ways to use the delicious stuff.

Third: Make soup.

1 tomato, chopped

2 onions (not the baked ones), quartered

2 parsnips, chopped

1 green or red pepper, chopped

2 cups chopped celery and leaves

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped dill

3 quarts water

shells from 6 eggs (used in making matzoh balls)

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. sweet paprika

1//4 tsp. pepper

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 cup baked onions

1 recipe matzoh balls (use your own recipe)

In a large kettle combine everything but the garlic, onions, and matzoh balls and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Add garlic and onions and simmer for another 15 minutes. Strain the broth into a large saucepan. Add matzoh balls and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.