All-Purpose Boiled Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut up
Bay leaves

Do NOT use boneless, skinless chicken. Get a whole chicken and cut it yourself, or whole pre-cut-up chicken. You can also just use 2 each of bone-in breasts, thighs, and legs if you do not want to deal with the wings, neck, and back.

Place all your chicken pieces and 2-3 bay leaves in a large pot, and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and boil for several hours, until chicken is cooked and comes easily off the bones.

Use tongs to remove chicken, and place in a collander set in a bowl to cool. Set broth aside for later. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Pull all meat from bones, picking apart small tender pieces, and cutting up larger ones.

Chicken meat can then be used in the broth (after fat is seperated) for soups, or used in any other recipe calling for cooked, cut-up chicken.

To seperate fat from broth:
Once broth has cooled enough for fat to rise, skim off as much of the yellow fat as possible with a ladle. Use a gravy seperator to seperate any remaining fat. A gravy seperator is a container with a narrow spout coming up from the bottom, clean broth can be poured into another container while fat is left inside to be discarded. If you do not have a gravy seperator, remaining fat can be scooped off the surface.

Use broth for soups, or stored in glass jars in the refrigerator or freezer. Be sure to use freezer-safe jars if you plan to freeze it. Broth and chicken can also be canned if you have a pressure-canner, a boiling water bath is not suitable for meats.

* * * You do not have to use the back and neck portion, but they do add to the broth, and there is some meat to be picked off of them. The neck is usually too difficult to pick, and not much meat, but there are a few large pieces around the hip.

Giblets can be used if you like them, or discarded.