The difference between sad, salt-filled flavor-cubes, or, worse, a can of glop, and real, soul-warming, heart-filling soup is 3 hours of your time and a chicken carcass you already have. You do not have to pay $8 at the Whole Foods for the privilege. And you’re already going to spend those hours of your life puttering around doing something, so why not spend it on stock and buy yourself something really nice? Like, as I mentioned, soup?
The roast chicken is one of nature’s perfect units of people food. I realize this makes me sound nuts, but come with me for a sec. There are some foods, like an apple or an egg, that are literal perfect units of human consumption. You hold it in your little hand, and it has its little wrapper, and the insides are all delicious and just the right size for a snack.
A roast chicken is like that, but for 2-4 people: first roasted, then shredded in crepes or a pot pie, and then, miraculously, as STOCK in soups, stews, risottos, pilafs, pastas, etc. Only when you take out a 2-cup block of frozen chicken stock to make yourself a truly transcendent rice pilaf will you know true power. It’s intoxicating. (Not literally).
Plus, I find the more of the chicken I use the better I feel, not just because it’s extremely delicious, but because you’re making the very most of that little chicken who gave her life for your quesadillas. Whatever, it makes me kind of emotional. Thanks, little chicken. I will do right by you.
ANYWAY, this is not the Get Sad About Farm Animals Variety Hour. The point is, despite what many online recipes tell you, you don’t have to buy sixty chicken wings, or use 3 whole uncooked chickens (looking at you Ina), or get 4 chicken’s worth of bones from the butcher. You don’t have to put whipped egg whites on top of it to make it extra-clear like that guy on TikTok, or strain it through a lace wedding veil. You just have to throw some stuff you already have in a pot and let it burble away happily on the stove while you go about your life like the busy and productive cottage witch you are.
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