Chicken Broth

* Note: Instead of raw chicken, bake whole chickens basting with butter and Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Or for even better results, use Costco whole rotisserie chickens.

** Note: For an even richer intense broth, use Swanson chicken broth instead of water.

In a large covered pot, bring water or chicken broth to boil. Once the liquid starts to boil, uncover and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. While the liquid is heating, cut the chicken, onions and carrots into small pieces. Remove the cloves from the head of garlic. Crush the cloves with the flat edge of a large knife and discard the dry peelings. Add all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves to the liquid .

Simmer until the liquid has reduced to about two-thirds to one-half according to taste. During the time that the liquid is simmering, use a small ladle to skim off the liquid fat and scum that floats to the top by gently dipping the ladle into the broth until the fat just starts to run into the ladle. When the ladle is almost full, pour the contents into a small glass beaker or jar. The fat will immediately float to the top of the beaker and the broth will fall to the bottom. Continue skimming until the beaker is full. Use the small ladle to remove the fat from the top of the beaker and pour the remaining liquid back into the pot of broth. Continue to do this until most of the fat has been skimmed from the broth. Repeat every 5 or 10 minutes until little or no fat or scum floats to the top of the broth.

Once the liquid has been reduced to the desired concentration, add the thyme and bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to gently simmer, stirring occasionally for another 30 minutes. As the broth continues to simmer, the thyme, bay and pepper taste will become less intense. If you find the thyme, bay and pepper taste to be too intense, continue to simmer to reduce the intensity. If the more intensity is desired then add more thyme, bay leaves or pepper as needed.

Once the desired taste has been achieved, remove the broth from the heat and allow to cool. Once the broth has cooled enough to work with, pass the broth through a colander into a second pot and discard the solids. Repeat until all the large solids have been removed from the broth. Using a very fine strainer, strain the broth two more times. When the strainer becomes clogged, spray the strainer with hot water to clean. Continue until all the broth has been strained.

Refrigerate the broth in the large pot until the broth has gelled. At that point the contents will have separated into several layers. Mix the gelled broth thoroughly with a large spoon. If desired, the broth can then be transferred to jars or small containers to freeze.