Winning Chicken Soup Recipe from Kenny & Ziggy’s Deli

Ziggy Gruber, owner of Kenny & Ziggy’s Deli, shows food radio talk show host Cleverley Stone how to make his award-winning chicken soup while AJ Saper previews the 10th annual Chicken Soup Cookoff in Houston, which takes place Sunday, Jan. 30,  at the Congregation Emanu El on 1500 Sunset Boulevard. More than 40 restaurants will compete for the title of Houston’s Best Chicken Soup and the event benefits the Houston Food Bank. The public is invited to attend and vote for their favorite soup. Adult tickets cost $10 while admission for children is $5 per ticket.

For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, listen to Cleverley’s radio show Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM. (By the way, she gives out prizes on every radio show!)

Kenny & Ziggy’s Chicken Soup
Source: Ziggy Gruber


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 large whole onion, unpeeled (find one with a firm, golden-brown peel)
  • 2 large whole carrots, peeled
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bunch of dill, cleaned and tied with a string
  • 1 bunch of Parsley, cleaned and tied with a string   


1. Place all ingredients in a pot and cover with water.
2. Let soup simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. When chicken cools, cut into bite-sized pieces. You can add it to the soup, just before serving, or save it for chicken salad.
4. Strain the soup, and discard everything solid except for the carrot and celery.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice carrot and celery then toss into soup. Also add the chicken pieces if desired. Other options: Add cooked noodles, rice, kasha, or matzo balls.

Kenny & Ziggy’s Matzo Balls Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black, or even better, white pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups matzo meal   


1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a fork to mix thoroughly.  Beat in the schmaltz, and add the 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper.
2. Stir in the matzo meal, and then mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until completely blended and very stiff.
3. Let stand for 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.  Up to 8 hours.
Fill a large; wide pot three-quarter full with water.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Wet your hands with cold water so the batter doesn’t stick to them, then holding and rolling the mixture between your palms, shape it into perfect balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.  They will double in size when cooked.
5. Gently place the matzo balls in the boiling water.  When all have been added, decrease the heat so the water simmers briskly, but isn’t at a rolling boil, when the pot is covered.  Cook for 25 minutes, preferably without removing the pot lid.
6. Remove the cooked matzo balls with a slotted spoon.  Serve in hot chicken soup.

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