By Amandah205, member
Posted: March 29th, 2013
Using a small sharp knife and your fingers, remove the skin from the chicken and discard it. Rinse the chicken well and put it in a large (at least 8-quart), heavy-duty pot or Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to submerge the chicken (about 5 quarts). Cover the pot, with the lid slightly ajar. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, occasionally skimming off any foam that accumulates on the surface, until foam no longer rises, about 30 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, onion, 1-1/2 Tbs. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper and simmer until the vegetables start to soften and the chicken is completely cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for 10 minutes; meanwhile, continue simmering the broth, partially covered. Using your fingers, pull the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-size pieces; discard any gristle or fat. Set aside the shredded chicken while you finish the broth.
Return the carcass to the broth and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are completely soft and the flavor has intensified, about 30 minutes more. If at any time the water level drops below the solids, add water to cover and return to a simmer. Remove the carcass from the broth and discard. Strain the broth through a fine sieve set over another pot or a bowl large enough to hold the broth. Gently press on the solids with a large spoon to squeeze out any remaining broth. You will have about 3 quarts.
Wash and thoroughly dry the broth pot. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and 1/2 Tbs. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned in places, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the bay leaves and thyme, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 3 quarts of the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are completely tender and the aromatics have infused the broth, 20 to 30 minutes. Fish out and discard the bay leaves.
Stir in the rice, tomatoes, spinach, and reserved shredded chicken. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all are tender and the flavors meld, 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the basil, adding a little at a time and adjusting the flavor as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and serve.