When the weather turns grim, the children's noses run, and the news is gloomy, make chicken soup. It's called Jewish penicillin in some quarters; the Chinese, too, think hot chicken soup restores body and soul. Chicken soup supposedly has antibiotic properties, while the hot liquids relieve congestion.
One hormone & antibiotic free chicken
2 stalks celery, cut in large chunks
2 large carrots, cut in large chunks
1 leek, cleaned and cut in large chunks
2 bay leaves
Two onions cut up
Garlic, coarsely chopped, as much as you like
Wash the chicken, salt and pepper all over. Put all ingredients into a large pot and add water almost to cover. Simmer until chicken is quite done. Add more salt. Serve the broth alone, or with added noodles or rice as a first course; put chicken on serving platter surrounded by cooked veggies, serve as entree. Or serve chicken pieces in large shallow bowls with vegetables, covered with broth.
To make the flavors more Arab, add allspice and cinnamon. You could add cooked chickpeas towards the end of the cooking time for a Middle Eastern flavor.
A really Lebanese way to deal with a poached chicken is to use the broth to make rice pilaf (roz bil shagria - with sauteed vermicelli noodles), then serve the boned chicken meat on top of the pilaf. Toasted pine nuts or almonds may be sprinkled overall, along with additional dusting of allspice and/or cinnamon.