Chicken kreplach soup is a dish my husband has asked me to develop for a while now. Kreplach (pronounced krep-lakh) or “krepel” if singular, is the Yiddish name for the traditional triangular pieces of dough filled with ground meat or chicken, similar to dumplings. Also known as “Jewish wontons“, kreplach, just like Chinese dumplings, can be boiled and served in chicken soup or fried and served as a separate dish, which is a favorite of my boys.
In the Jewish world, kreplach is often served on three different holidays: during the meal on the eve of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur); on seventh day of Sukkot, known as, Hoshana Rabbah; and on the holiday of Purim. In kreplach, the meat symbolizes severity and the dough represents an allusion to kindness. The belief is that in preparation for the Day of Judgment, we “cover” the severity with kindness. We are right now between the Yom Kippur and the Hoshana Rabbah holiday, so it seems like a nice time to share this special recipe.
Many Jewish grandparents today grew up eating kreplach prepared by their own mothers and grandmothers. But few Jews actually make them anymore, and for good reason — kreplach are a lot of work, especially if you make the dough from scratch. I did not grow up Jewish and my husband’s parents and grandparents did not make kreplach. His connection to this traditional Jewish food actually came from close friends. I’ve tried making my own kreplach dough, but truthfully speaking, like a great Chinese dumpling wrapper, it’s complicated stuff. Getting that dough thin enough is a true endeavor. It’s doable, but it takes commitment.
For my chicken kreplach recipe I borrowed the short cut my husband came up with when he made his crispy fried kreplach and used store-bought wonton wrappers. Totally brilliant. This is a shortcut I stand by. Not only do these wonton wrappers simplify making the kreplach, they are thin, hold together well and poach up perfectly in this flavorful golden broth. All the Jewish grandmothers may disapprove of this technique, but my modern kreplach, are solid and worth a try if you’re a kreplach lover, soup lover or perhaps both.
Chicken Kreplach Soup
- For the Soup:
- 5 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick, divided
- 1 onion, sliced, divided
- 1 large zucchini, small dice
- 5 celery stalks, small dice
- Leaves from 1 bunch celery, divided
- 6 skin-on chicken drumsticks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
- 15 cups cold water
- For the Kreplach:1 package wonton wrappers
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Step 1 For the Soup: To a large stock pot add half the carrots, half the onions, all of the zucchini, celery, half the celery leaves, chicken, garlic, salt, olive oil and water and place over high heat. Next, bring the stock to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
- Step 2 For the Kreplach: Using tongs, carefully remove the chicken and place in a mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the chicken skin and bones and shred the meat.
- Step 3 In a second small mixing bowl add about 1 cup of the soup vegetables and mash with a masher. Add the chicken and with 1–2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and mix well to blend. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Set aside.
- Step 4 Place a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl and strain the soup, discard the solids. Place the strained broth back into the stock pot and place back over medium heat. Add the remaining carrots and onions. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Step 5 While the soup in simmering, assemble the kreplach. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil. Lay out 15 of the wonton wrappers. Place a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip each of the remaining 15 wonton wrappers quickly into cold water and place over the filling. Push down gently to seal the edges.
- Step 6 Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Gently drop 3–4 kreplach into the pot and cook for 1–2 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of lightly oiled parchment paper to cool.
- Step 7 To Serve: taste and adjust the soup seasoning as needed. Add the kreplach to the pot of soup shortly before serving. Divide the broth and kreplach among the the serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining celery fonds.