Chicken soup is one of the world’s most perfect dishes all by itself. It’s delicious, comforting, and the ideal remedy for the common cold or even, yes, a wicked hangover.
And chicken soup with matzah balls is like peanut butter and jelly. Bert and Ernie. Bagels and cream cheese. They just go together perfectly.
Except kreplach might be better than matzah balls.
While discussing this controversial opinion with my co-workers, it came to my attention that actually a lot of people don’t know what kreplach are, so let me back up and explain. Every culture has its own dumplings, and that’s exactly what kreplach are — Jewish dumplings. They can be filled with meat and served boiled in soup. Or they can be served with fried onions as a stand-alone dish. They can be vegetarian and they can even be stuffed with cheese. Kreplach migrated to the United States from Eastern Europe, and the word (which one of my co-workers pointed out is super fun to say. Try it: KREP-LACH!) is actually Yiddish.
Kreplach aren’t a food I grew up eating — I only ever received chicken soup with those thin egg noodles that are impossibly difficult to capture effectively with a spoon, and one of my grandmother’s matzah balls known affectionately as “sinkers.” I eventually learned to make my own fluffy matzah balls and serve them frequently to my family now.
But the first time I tasted one of those slightly doughy, meat-filled kreplach swimming in my chicken soup was an absolute revelation.
There’s something so satisfying about the silky texture of chicken soup in your mouth with some meaty goodness from the kreplach filling. And the mouthfeel of homemade kreplach dough just can’t hold a candle to matzah balls, no matter how fluffy and perfect they may be. Unlike matzah balls, which can sort of disintegrate into your soup when you break into them, kreplach will keep their shape and integrity as you break off a piece. And so yes, I’m starting to think that chicken soup and kreplach are the real match made in Jewish food heaven.
Of course, this comes down to personal preference. If you just can’t decide which delicious, carby accouterment to plop into your chicken soup, I say put them all in. Everyone wins.