How to Cook a Whole Chicken to use for Soup (and creating a great stock)
When you know you are going to be using both broth and chicken for soup, and have a few hours you’ll be around the house, why not make everything from scratch? This recipe is simple and depending on the size chicken you purchase, you can use the chicken for multiple recipes later in the week.
Place chicken in a large stockpot. (if your pot is a little smaller you can cut the chicken into pieces.) Add into the pot: 2 quartered onions, 2 carrots, chopped, 3 celery ribs, cut into large pieces, 10 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, fresh sprigs of herbs from the garden, kosher salt (smaller amounts since stock will get saltier as it cooks.)
Fill with water to within 2 inches of the top with cold water. Set burner on high, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.
Cook for one and a half hours, until chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken from the pot. Let cool enough to remove all the meat from the bones and set aside. Shred or chop chicken into bite-sized pieces to use in soup.
Chopped chicken for later use
Add the chicken bones back into the pot. Simmer (covered) for an additional hour. As liquid cooks, add salt as desired to taste.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the large bones and vegetables and discard. Pour stock through a thin mesh strainer to leave you with a clear broth.
(My mom actually had a great contraption in order to separate the grease from the stock, plus it strained the smaller vegetables! I need to get one for myself – Gravy Separator)
Follow any soup recipe you enjoy at this point.
(Note: If you let the stock cool in the fridge over night, skim off the cooled fat from the surface with a spoon.)