About store-bought roasted chicken*
I learned to love buying roasted chickens when I lived in Paris for a semester. I had a very tight budget and shared the dormitory kitchen, which wasn't always available to cook in. One day, while talking to the neighborhood butcher and his wife about my situation, the butcher almost forced one of his fresh birds on me. I wasn't too keen on the idea of taking a whole bird. Being a recovered vegetarian and really weirded out about eating meat off of the bone, I just didn't think that it was a good choice for me.
This sweet older couple had their birds spinning in a glass-encased oven-on-wheels on the sidewalk. The aroma that filled the street when the chickens were done was so wonderful that I ultimately couldn't resist. These poulets rôtis became a staple of my French life and remain so to this day.
Where to buy your bird? I buy mine at Ballard Market one of the Seattle-based Town and Country grocery stores. Their birds are free range, grain fed, and $7.99 for a whole bird. As for your other, bigger stores, talk to the deli counter to see where they get their chickens... if you care.
I highly recommend pulling the meat off of the bird while it is still warm. It makes for a very easy job and you can easily get it ready for use another day.
As for making stock from the bones, as soon as you're done pulling the meat, plop what's left of the bird into a stock pot (bones, skin, and tidbits of meat), cover it with water and let it simmer away for a couple of hours. When it's done, or you're done waiting, drain out and discard the bones then set the liquid into the fridge to cool. Of course the longer you let it simmer the more flavorful your stock will be. When it's completely chilled, there will be a layer of solidified fat on top. This is called Schmaltz. Skim it off and save it for cooking fat (the new 'in fat' by the way) or toss it.
With a little bit of time and a modicum amount of effort, you'll have home made chicken stock and will have saved money (at least $3.00 for a container of stock these days?)
Enjoy and Santé
* The first section of this post is from an earlier post Chicken Soup and Bathtime. The Mom's Tip is a new bit to help you make the most of your chicken.