For the stock:
1 whole chicken
Filtered water to cover
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 onion, peeled and cubed coarsely
2 bay leaves
Handful of peppercorns
Any other desired herbs: parsley, thyme, sage, etc
For the soup:
Salt and pepper to taste
2 leeks or shallots, or 1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
Any other desired vegetable such as red pepper, green beans, sweet corn, etc.
Preheat oven to 365F. Salt the chicken and place in a large pot. Just barely cover with water, and place on the stovetop on med high. Bring the water slowly to a boil, and when it starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Skin any foam that comes to the top. When the foam stops, add the vegetables and herbs. Cover with a lid, and place in the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. For the last 1/2 hour remove the lid. During the last 1/2 hour saute the leek, carrot, celery, and whatever other vegetable in butter on medium heat until cooked and slightly browned.
Remove chicken pot from oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove chicken from the pot onto a large plate using tongs or two large spoons. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the legs, wings, and breast, and cut or shred coarsely. If there's more meat than you want to add to the soup, you can save some for making into another dish, like chicken salad or chicken tacos. Strain the broth into a new pot. Add the meat and sauteed vegetables to the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup is ready! It's great served as is, or with noodles or rice, or a hearty bread.
I'll then take the chicken carcass and add it back to the original pot, add the vegetables and whatnot that was strained out of the broth, add a few chicken feet, and cover with water, and then simmer for 12 hours for a delicious, nutritious stock. Or I'll freeze the carcass and spent vegetables to make the stock later.