Chicken Soup

1 whole cut-up chicken -or- 2 each thighs, legs, and breasts
3 bay leaves

Celery with some leaves
Peas or cut green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Tomato, canned or fresh diced
Rosemary, fresh or dried, chopped
Thyme, fresh or dried
Cilantro, fresh, chopped

Place chicken and bay leaves in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for at least an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use tongs to remove chicken and any skin from the broth. Seperate broth from fat using a gravy seperator, or allow to cool and skim fat off the top with a ladle. Return broth to the cooking pot with the bay leaves.

Prepare vegetables while waiting for chicken to cool. Cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces and begin cooking in broth, starting with onions, then carrots, then remaining vegetables, herbs, and seasoning. Remove and discard chicken skin. Pull meat off the bone and cut into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. For the large muscles, cut across the grain, and simply crumble the chicken. Return meat to the pot, add fresh cilantro, and simmer until everything is done.

If you wish to add rice or noodles, you will need at least 2 cups of extra broth or water. You should have plenty if you used the wings, back, and neck from a whole chicken to prepare your broth, but you can use canned or previously-prepared broth, saved liquid from canned vegetables, or water. Add the dry rice or noodles to the pot with the chicken. Wild rice will require about 3 extra cups of liquid and a longer cooking time, so add it with the vegetables. One cup of rice or a cup and a half of small pasta should be plenty for a pot of soup.

* * * You do not have to add cilantro, but we like the flavor, and it aids in detoxing the body. Tomatoes are also optional.