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.
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.
to print the recipe, click here
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.
Dinner is served!
ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting
TWO YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Dressing
THREE YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen on Fire!
FOUR YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
FIVE YEARS AGO: Chiarello’s Chicken Cacciatore
SIX YEARS AGO: Donna Hay’s Thai-Inspired Dinner
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Panettone