Place whole chicken, breast side down in a colander that fits in a 12-quart stockpot.
Wash the vegetables but don’t bother to peel. Break up the carrots and celery to fit in the pot. Add onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Pour water over chicken and vegetables. Bring to boil, uncovered, over high heat.
Cover and turn down to medium heat. Simmer for 1 hour.
Remove from heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes up to one hour.
Remove chicken and vegetables to a large sheet pan. Discard vegetables and break chicken into large pieces to cool faster.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, return pot to medium heat.
Remove bones, skin and fat from chicken. Shred or chop the chicken meat and add back to stockpot.
Taste for seasoning, before adding rice, and make adjustments as needed.
Add rice as soon as the stock is boiling. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
When the level of the liquid is just below the surface of the rice, cover and remove from heat. Let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.
Stir before serving.