Jessica’s Matzah ball soup

Do you know that every Thanksgiving 78,000 tons of turkey are wasted? There's no better way to give thanks than by making sure none of your Thanksgiving food goes to waste! How? By following Chef Jessica Rosval's family recipe!

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Credits: Food for Soul

Thanksgiving is a moment to share. Millions of Americans, coming from diverse backgrounds gather to sit around the table and share a meal with their friends and loved ones in communion…But like any event where much food is produced, there is always an issue lurking under the table- waste. Every Thanksgiving, for instance, 78,000 tons of turkey are wasted.

Jessica Rosval, the young Canadian Chef of Casa Maria Luigia – Francescana Group’s newest project – a guest house in the Modenese countryside – knows well the value of sharing. At Casa Maria Luigia, everything is designed to be shared with the guests: chef Massimo Bottura and his wife Lara have brought their passions – art, food and music – to live and let live with guests coming from all over the world.

In the evening, guests share the Osteria Francescana experience with a personal touch around shared tables – part of the new dining experience offered exclusively at Casa Maria Luigia and inspired by the Refettorio model. Guests interact with each other and discover the most iconic dishes of Osteria Francescana. Thanks to an open concept kitchen, Jessica is able to step out to the forefront, explaining the emotion, the stories, and the humor behind the dishes.

The approach is designed to make guests feel at home – just like we would in the Refettorios through personal touches offered to guests.

Jessica is part of this evolution, and for this reason she shared with us a special recipe from her childhood and cultural tradition – capitalizing on ingredients that would otherwise typically be wasted.

Starting from the most flavorful roast chicken (but the recipe can also be applied to turkey for Thanksgiving leftovers).

By being creative with your leftover ingredients, you can turn one meal into to – and in this case simple ingredients that become something special thanks to realizing the value before throwing away.

In this case, what gives value to the chicken carcass is the matzah, a typical bread of the Jewish cuisine, the Italian ‘pane azzimo’, simply made of water and flour – if you don’t have it at home, even stale bread or crackers of any kind should be fine – suggests Jessica.

“When I called my mom to ask her the amounts for this recipe – explaining to her that I wanted to create a zero-waste recipe she laughed in my face – ‘’but this is not a waste!’’

Cooking is an act of love because it is a universal way to communicate with others. It is a way to tell your story, share your memories and define your dreams without words. What is LOVE if it isn’t about connecting, and what better way to connect with others than with food!

Jessica Rosval
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Jessica’s matzah ball soup

Maple roasted chicken with warm spices and butternut squash 

  • 10 gr (2 tsp) cumin 
  • 10 gr (2 tsp) ground coriander 
  • 10 gr (2 tsp) paprika 
  • 10 gr (2 tsp) ground ginger 
  • 5 gr (1 tsp)black pepper 
  • 5 gr (1 tsp) cayenne pepper 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (amber)

Whole Chicken

Rinse it off and pat dry, being sure not to leave any moisture behind, slide your fingers gently under the skin of the chicken breast, creating a cavity. 

In a bowl, chop the garlic and mix all of the spices with 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Slather the mix all over the bird, especially in the cavity under the breast skin. 

Place the chicken breast side up in a large deep pan on a rack. Roast at about 220C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add chopped squash (and whatever other root vegetables you like) to the base of the pan and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes. When the chicken is almost done, pull from the oven and baste the chicken with maple syrup, allowing a generous amount to fall into the vegetables. Place back in the oven for 3 minutes. Repeat this process 2 more times. 

When the chicken thigh has reached an internal temperature of 75C your chicken is done. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Cut and serve! (Don’t throw out the carcass! Bag and freeze.)

Matzah ball soup – Days Later

Carcass broth

Defrost the chicken carcass, put it on a tray and roast in the oven at 230C until they are deep golden brown. Add to a pot, cover the bones and bits of leftover meat with water and turn on the heat. As the water warms, you will notice that a grey layer starts to form at the top of the broth, gently scoop that out with a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to do this before the water starts to boil. When the clean broth almost boils, immediately turn the temperature down to a simmer and add your vegetable – carrots, celery, onion, black pepper corn, bay leaf – and let simmer for 2 -3 hours.  Keep the fine mesh close by and continue to remove the upper layer. When done, strain and place the broth back into a pot. If there are bits of chicken meat left on the bones you can pull them off and save them for adding back in later. 

While the broth is simmering, prepare your matzah balls.  

Matzah balls 

  • 90 grams chicken schmalz (chicken fat) or grapeseed oil for a lighter version (schmaltz is way tastier!) 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 90 gr Matzah meal or finely ground breadcrumbs 
  • Salt and pepper

Whisk schmaltz and eggs together with a  fork, pour into the breadcrumb, salt and pepper mix.  mix with the fork. Let stand in the fridge for 45 minutes. 

Lightly roll into 16 small balls. Be careful not to make the balls too compact.

Bring the broth to a boil, the add the matzah balls to the broth and place the lid on the pot. Let cook slowly for about 30 minutes. The balls will double in size. After 20 minutes, add any vegetables you would like into the broth, traditionally these are bits of carrot and celery (Jessica’s mom always puts in bok choy bits as well). Don’t forget the chicken meat you set aside before! 

Serve broth and balls with vegetables, and garnish with coriander leaves!