SLOW-COOKED WHOLE CHICKEN

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while, and now I feel it’s ready to be shared with my beloved readers. The problem with many recipes designed for the crock pot is that they take the lazy approach. First they tell you to “dump” ingredients inside, then turn it on low and leave it there for 8 hours or more. The “dump” part always gives me a chuckle. I guess to make it sound easy you need to be very quick, no “carefully placing.” Let’s not even consider taking the additional step of browning or sauteing ingredients before slow cooking them. For some types of meat that will work fine, but for poultry? No bueno. I usually make a recipe the first time following it very closely, and this was not an exception. I cooked the chicken for 8 hours. The texture was simply wrong. Stringy, kind of dried up, with the exact mouth feel that gives crock pots in general a bad reputation. So, I turned to America’s Test Kitchen to learn their take on it. Voilà! They recommend cooking the chicken breast side down, and limit the time to 5 hours. Of course, if you work and would like to have the chicken ready for dinner, it could be a problem, but you can always make it after work and enjoy it next evening.  For us, it is not a big deal, we go home for lunch, so all I have to do is get it ready, place it in the slow cooker (sorry, no dumping, just not my style) and have a very easy meal later.

crockpot-whole-chicken

SLOW-COOKED WHOLE CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

1 whole chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
a few carrots, cut in sticks

Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with a little olive oil (not a mandatory step, but helps avoid stuff to stick).

Mix all the dried ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle all over the chicken skin, try to get a little bit inside the bird too.

Stick the lemon quarters inside the chicken.

Scatter the carrot pieces in the bottom of your slow cooker. If you have a small rack to elevate the chicken, use it, if not, simply place the chicken breast side down in the crock pot.

Cook on low for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken, discard lemon quarters, cut chicken into serving pieces and place in a baking dish. De-grease the liquid that formed in the slow cooker, add some of it on top of the chicken pieces. Run under the broiler to crisp up the skin, and serve with the super soft and tasty carrots.  Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

cooked

Comments: This is a very basic method that you can vary in all sorts of directions by changing the spice mixture, adding potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips to make it a complete meal. If  you have no issues with butter, a little smear of butter right before the broiling step will give it very nice flavor and a darker skin.  There is no need to add any liquid, you will be surprised by how much liquid will accumulate in the crock pot. That stuff is tasty, with a lemony tang, and subtle heat from the cayenne.  I know some people serve the chicken straight from the slow-cooker, but I find the additional step of crisping up the skin worth every second of additional work.  I tried reducing the cooking time to 4 hours, but the meat was not as tender as I like. You might have to play around with the timing, depending on the power of your slow-cooker, the size and quality of the chicken you find in your grocery store.

served

Dinner is served!

slow-cooked-whole-chicken-from-bewitching-kitchen

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15 thoughts on “SLOW-COOKED WHOLE CHICKEN

  1. Ahh, perfect timing for me. I’ve been thinking about learning to cook with the slow cooker as this week we are gutting our kitchen for a complete redo. I was going to miss my PC (thanks to you for that purchase), so I have already bought an electric one. It will be interesting getting used to operating that one, seems like a whole different game.

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  2. I’m not a big fan of the slow cooker for the reasons you outline above. I hate the stringiness of the meat and the lack of involvement in the cooking. I also get a kick out of the use of the word ‘dump’ but, let’s not go there.
    Lovely chicken.

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    • I often wonder – when I read recipes that cook the poor bird for 10 hours – if those people have different types of taste buds, because to me it is simply bad. No other adjective is possible. Now, for some things it does work well. Poultry is not my favorite protein to use it, but I liked the challenge of trying to make a whole chicken in it. One I could actually enjoy eating! 😉

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    • I truly dislike the dump and run method. I think chicken wings might be very nice in the crockpot, they have enough fat to keep them moist. Even chicken thighs are giving me a bit of trouble. I tried a recipe yesterday, from ATK, but did not turn out good. I suspect my crockpot runs hotter than theirs. Back to the drawing board on that one. Sauce was spectacular, though…

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  3. You know, Sally, for as many times I’ve used my slow cookers over the years, I’ve never just dumped everything into the pot. I’ve always pre-cooked at least some of the ingredients, especially the proteins. Like you, I’ve followed the Test Kitchens’ recipes and have had very good luck with them. Looks like you do, too, because this chicken looks perfect and quite moist. YUM!

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