Guest Recipe: Chef Justin Cucci’s Matzah Ball Soup Dumplings

Another frosty day, another opportunity to put something hot and delicious into one’s belly. The recipe, crafted by Chef Justin Cucci, below blends cooking influences of Shanghai with Jewish cuisine to create a dish destined to be an instant cold weather season favorite. As comforting as a good bowl of matzah ball soup can be, this recipe folds that savory flavor into the awesomeness of a soup dumpling. You’ll find it on the menu at Chef Cucci’s newest restaurant, El Five in Denver, CO, where it’s keeping people warm all winter long.


Matzah Ball Soup Dumplings
By Executive Chef Justin Cucci,
El Five Denver, CO

*Makes 4 dumplings per person; up to 12 people


  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • ¼ cup carrots
  • ¼ cup celery
  • 3 oz. onions
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 qt. seasoned chicken broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp. powder gelatin
  • 50 dumpling wrappers (round) *packages available at your local grocer
  • 1 egg


  • Lemon oil
  • Crushed Matzah crackers
  • Chopped fresh dill and chives

Steps for chicken jelly:

  1.  In a pot bring chicken broth and cinnamon to a boil.
  2. Reduce chicken broth by ½.
  3. In a small bowl mix gelatin and cold water until fragrant.
  4. Add gelatin to chicken broth and mix well.
  5. Let broth come back to a boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Let broth cool down in freezer until gelatin is set and reserve.

Steps for dumpling filling: 

  1. In a food processor and onion, celery, carrot, thyme leaves, and parsley leaves.
  2. Pulse until finely minced.
  3. In a bowl mix chicken, salt, pepper, and vegetable/herb mixture.

Building dumplings:

  1. In a small bowl whisk one egg.
  2. Spread egg wash lightly around edges of one dumpling wrapper.
  3. Place ½ tbsp. of chicken jelly in the center of the dumpling wrapper.
  4. On top of the chicken jelly place 1 tbsp. dumpling filling.
  5. Fold dumpling by twisting all edges over the top of filling until sealed.
  6. Once dumplings are complete place in freezer until frozen.

Cooking dumplings: 

  1. Place frozen dumplings in a steamer at 212 degrees.
  2. Let dumplings steam for 6 minutes.
  3. Garnish dumplings with lemon oil, crushed matzah crackers, chives and dill.

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