Chicken Broth and Meat

2 whole chickens, excess fat removed and split lengthwise
2 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into about 4 pieces
2 celery ribs, cleaned and sliced on the diagonal into about 4 pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
12 peppercorns, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
3 bay leaves
1 medium unpeeled potato, quartered
4 tablespoons salt, or to taste

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot with enough water to cover (approximately 5 quarts) and bring to a slow boil over high heat. When foam appears on the surface, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are done, 45 minutes to an hour, occasionally skimming off foam.

When vegetables are done, remove them and discard. Remove chickens, shred meat, and refrigerate until ready to use (yields about 4 cups chicken). Adjust seasoning of broth, strain through a sieve, and refrigerate. When cool, skim off fat.

Mexican Rice With Vegetables

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups long-grain rice, soaked in water for 10 minutes, washed until water runs clear, and drained
4 medium tomatoes, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 whole cloves garlic
salt to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup frozen cut green beans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 2 cups oil in a saucepan, add onion, and cook over medium heat until golden and translucent. Add rice and cook over low heat until it browns slightly. Remove from heat, pour off excess oil, and set aside.

In a blender purée tomatoes, tomato paste, and garlic with about 4 cups water; add salt to taste. In a large oven-safe saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining oil and add tomato mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add carrots, celery, and bell peppers to rice and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring to mix well with oil. Add hot tomato mixture, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas and beans and stir to mix. Cover pan with a tight lid, place in oven, and cook until liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes; keep peeking to a bare minimum during this period. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes without removing lid; do not peek at all. Makes about 6 cups.

Raw-Vegetable Garnish

1 large chipotle chile
2 Haas avocados
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
12 sprigs cilantro
4 serrano chiles

Soak chipotle in warm water until it plumps up. Peel avocados and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Chop tomatoes. Finely chop onion, cilantro, and chiles. Put each in a small or medium serving bowl and set aside.

To serve, ladle broth into individual bowls and evenly divide Mexican rice and shredded chicken among the bowls. Pass garnishes. Serves 8.