4carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
¼ cupfreshly chopped parsley or dill
For the Soup
Place the chicken, onions, turnips (if using), carrots and celery in a large 12-quart stock pot. Add about 6 quarts of water to fill the pot, and bring to boil. Let the soup boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, skimming off any froth or scum as it forms. Reduce the heat to low and add the bay leaves, parsley, celery seed, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Cover and simmer 3½ hours more. Let the soup cool on the stovetop until the pot is no longer hot; then place the pot in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and skim most – but not all – of the fat from the surface of the soup. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and large vegetables from the soup and discard (they will be too mushy to serve). Place a fine mesh strainer over a very large bowl or clean soup pot, and pour the soup through the strainer to strain out all the remaining solids. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.
For the Matzo Balls
Combine the oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in both bags of matzo ball mix and and sit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wet your hands and gently roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (do not compact!). Carefully drop the matzo balls into the boiling water. Bring back to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the matzo balls to a large plate or plastic container. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Note: if you're making the matzo balls at the last minute, you can transfer them right from the boiling water into the chicken soup.)
Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the chicken bouillon powder, along with more salt and pepper to taste. The amount of seasoning you add will depend on your personal preference and how much water you used. I like a well-seasoned soup, so I add at least 2 tablespoons of bouillon powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper (in addition to the salt and pepper already added); just add the seasoning gradually, tasting as you go, until the soup tastes flavorful.
Add the carrots and cooked matzo balls to the pot and simmer until the carrots are tender and the matzo balls are hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes. You'll know the matzo balls are heated through when they float to the surface. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley or dill.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup and the matzo balls can be frozen separately for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup and the matzo balls in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Once the soup is hot, add the matzo balls and simmer until the matzo balls are soft in the center and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes.
Note: If you don't have a 12-quart stock pot, use two smaller pots and a cut-up chicken, divided between the two pots. If you'd like to use the meat from the chicken in the soup, use a cut-up chicken and pull out the chicken breasts after simmering for 20 to 30 minutes; let cool slightly, pull the meat and reserve for the soup, then return the bones to the simmering broth.)