Chicken Soup with Mini Matzo Balls

3-4 pound whole chicken, cut in half or chicken pieces

10 whole carrots, peeled with ends cut off

1 large parsnip, peeled ( or several small ones), with ends cut off

4 ribs of celery, cut into 5 inch sections

1 lemon, halved

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

2 bay leaves

handful of flat leaf parsley

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 stalks of fresh rosemary

1 large yellow onion, ends cut off, skin on, cut into chunks

salt and pepper

3  (32 oz.)  boxes of low sodium chicken broth ( such as kitchen basics brand

2 cups of water

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley plus extra chopped parsley for garnish

For the matzo balls:

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 c unsalted matzo meal

2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. ice water

2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

Cut whole chicken in half, cutting out the backbone, and reserving it.  

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in bottom of large stock pot, including the backbone.  Add carrots, parsnip, celery, half of the lemon, garlic, and onion and bay leaves.  Take the parsley, rosemary, and thyme and tie together and add to pot. 

Add chicken broth and water to the pot.  Cover and bring to boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, skimming off scum as it rises to the top. Prepare matzo balls. (see directions below) Remove chicken, carrots, parsnips, and celery and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Strain what is left in pot through a fine mesh strainer, and return broth to pot.  Remove chicken from bones and cut chicken into bite sized pieces, cut up carrots, celery and parsnip into bite sized pieces and return all to the broth.  Taste for salt and pepper, and add as needed.  Add juice of reserved half of lemon, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 c parsley.  Simmer for another 30 min.  Put desired amount of matzo balls in bowl, and ladle a cup of chicken soup on top.  Garnish with parsley.  

To make the matzo balls:

In large bowl, combine the oil, eggs and egg whites, the matzo meal, and salt.  Mix until just combined.  Add the ice water and dill.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 min.  Bring a large pot of water to boil, remove bowl with matzo ball mixture in it, and drop by tablespoons into pot of boiling water.  ( I use a cookie scoop to form the balls).  Turn heat to med, cover pot and allow to boil for 35 minutes.  The matzo balls will double in size once cooked. Remove matzo balls from water with slotted spoon and set aside until soup is done.