Having chicken broth handy is an essential ingredient for so many soups, stews, and grains. We always make a quick chicken broth after cooking our chickens and following is both a quick recipe for chicken, inspired from the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and a quick introduction to making chicken broth.

I like to use 4.5 lb or less birds for this recipe. The recipe calls for lemons, but we used limes. Puncture at least 20 places and insert two inside each chicken. Rub salt and pepper all over chicken and in cavity. You can also put some butter under and over skin. Cook the chicken breast side down for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Turn chicken over, and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer in the breast bone to check for desired internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove the chicken to cool and save the juices, pouring them over the top of the chicken. From this point, you can carve the chicken and eat it at the moment it comes out of the oven.

The final part of this post is about the stock. Just take whatever you have not eaten and put it in a large stockpot, covering with water. Add some onions for flavor. We cook the stock for 24 hours on low, turning it off at night so we don’t accidentally boil all the water off. Sometimes we bring the stock to a boil several times and let it sit for several hours in between. When you are done with this step, let the broth cool and pour the broth through a colander, composting the bones and onions. Any extra meat we pick off the bones and set to the side and use it for chicken & rice casserole. With careful planning you can extend the useful portion of the chicken to 3 more meals, using it to enhance the flavor of rice, polenta, stews, and form the basis of many different soups.