As mentioned before, this is from The New Best Recipe, the one cookbook I would take to a desert island. The chopping up of the chicken was a pain, and a little too graphic for my taste, and made me wish for a good butcher knife or kitchen shears. The result was worth all the effort-and really, once it's chopped, it's a very simple recipe. The technique of browning the chicken pieces makes it very flavorful.
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 whole chicken, breast removed, split and reserved, the rest hacked into about 2" pieces
2 Quarts boiling water
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
Heat oil in large dutch oven or stockpot. When it's shimmering hot, add the breast halves and saute until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion to the pot and saute until colored and softened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.
Add half the remaining chicken pieces and saute until no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Remove to bowl with onion. Repeat with remaining pieces. Return the onion and chicken parts (not the breasts) to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes.
Increase heat to high, add boiling water, chicken breasts, salt, and bay leaves. Simmer, cover, and keep simmering on low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Remove the breasts from the pot. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the breasts and shred into bite sized pieces to use for soup.
Strain the stock through a mesh strainer into a container and discard the rest of the solids. Cool in fridge until fat rises to top; skin the fat and reserve for later.