Dissecting Chicken Soup

Every time we make chicken soup I'm faced with the same lengthy process, and I figure there's got to be a better way.

1. Whole chicken gets cooked with chopped vegetables, seasoning, and water.

2. After cooling a bit, TRY to remove chicken in one piece, allowing it to drain. This basically never works.

3. Spend many minutes carefully combing through pot removing chicken pieces, skin, bay leaves, and related detritus.

4. Cut up chicken into clean edible pieces and return to pot.

Obviously my problem is step 3, and I have to think there's a better way. Keeping chicken in a cheesecloth bag? Cooking some things separately? Straining?

I've tried straining the soup but the moderately finely chopped vegetables make that basically impossible -- it takes at least as long as the run-through-again-and-again method.

What's the RIGHT way to get the chicken out of the pot and back in again so that only meat, broth, and vegetables remain?


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