Sunday 12 February 2012

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

A couple of months ago I made mention on my Facebook page about roasting a chicken in my slow cooker.  I don’t think I’ve ever made a comment on line that has given rise to more conversation.  I had emails about it, and phone calls.  Friends here in town have asked me about it over coffee. It seems it's time to write a proper blog about it.  :^)

Like many things I cook, Slow Cooker Roast Chicken is more a technique than a recipe.  It’s simply a matter of assembling a few things in a pot and then letting time and slow cooking work their magic.  It’s a comparatively inexpensive dish, and it can be adapted to include different ingredients and seasonings.   It’s a perfect meal for those days when you want something comforting but don’t have the time or energy to fuss about in the kitchen.

I’ve provided a list of ingredients but, really, you can vary them however you wish.  I’d keep the aromatics constant and be generous with both salt and pepper but, other than that, there are few flavours that won’t work here.  I’ve made this dish with curry, with southwest seasonings, with lemon or orange zest and ginger, with traditional poultry seasoning, and sometimes just with good old fashioned salt and pepper.  Most any root vegetable will work in this dish, as will winter squash.  Use what you like and have on hand.

To make this Slow Cooker Roast Chicken I used:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 potatoes
  • 3 very large carrots
  • 1 whole chicken, about 2-1/2 pounds.  (Mine was frozen.  If you’re using a chicken that is not frozen, you’ll need to either reduce the heat half way through the cooking time or reduce the length of time the chicken is in the cooker.)
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper 
Peel and halve the onion and put it in the cooker.  Smash the garlic cloves under the side of your knife blade and add them too.  There’s no need to peel them.  Peel and add in whatever other vegetables you’re using.

Rosemary leaves are pretty tough, kind of like pine needles .  They have big flavour and stand up very well to long cooking but they’re hard to eat unless you mince them very finely.  If you're using rosemary, run your knife through it until the pieces are tiny; about the same size as pieces of coarsely ground black pepper.

Sprinkle a generous amount of seasoning all over the outside of the chicken.  Don’t be shy.  The seasonings and juices from the chicken will be flavouring the vegetables in the pot too. Set the chicken on top of the vegetables.

Put the lid on the cooker, turn the cooker to high heat and let your dinner cook, without removing the lid, for about 4 hours.

At the end of 4 hours, your chicken will look something like this.  Clearly it’s cooked all the way through, but it has no colour at all.  Not very appetizing looking, is it?

The chicken will probably fall apart as you remove it from the cooker so break it down into pieces and place the pieces skin side up on an oven proof plan.

Save the carcass for stock. 

Set your broiler on high and place the pan with the chicken parts on the middle rack in the oven.  Cook it until the chicken skin browns and crisps.  It takes about 10 or 15 minutes in my oven.  When it’s done, it’ll look something like this.  Much better!

I prefer to serve this meal family style.  I use a slotted spoon to lift the vegetables from the cooker and arrange them on the platter.  I arrange the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. 

We usually set aside the breast meat for use in another dish, and we use any leftover dark meat pieces for lunch the day after our chicken dinner.  I leave the pan drippings in the slow cooker and add the chicken carcass back in, together with any chicken bones I have saved up in the freezer. I add more carrots, some celery, some bay leaves, and some water or vegetable stock. 

I cook the stock for about 8 hours on low heat, then strain it and let it cool.  When it's cooled, I skim the fat off and store the stock in either the fridge or freezer.

Between meat and stock, a slow cooked chicken provides us at least four meals.  Tasty meals too.  Not too bad for so simple a dish.  :^)
This post is linked to the Hearth and Soul Gallery hosted by Premeditated Leftovers21st Century Housewife, Penniless Parenting, and Zesty South Indian Kitchen and to Delicious Dish Tuesday, hosted by Coping with Frugality, Full Time Mama, and Mama Chocolate.

Hearth & Soul Hop

Coping With Frugality


April J Harris said...

Simple dishes are often the best! Your slow cooker roast chicken sounds like perfect comfort food. Thank you for sharing it.

Aunt B said...

Thank you for providing me the means to do so. :) I enjoy the Gallery of Favourites very much: So many good ideas there.

mjskit said...

This roast chicken meal looks absolutely delicious!

Aunt B said...

Thank you! :)

Alesha @ Full Time Mama said...

Looks tasty! Thanks for linking up to Delicious Dish Tuesday! Can't wait to see what you share next week!

Aunt B said...

Thanks for Hosting. I enjoy visiting all the links.

Alea Milham said...

I really like your technique! I use the crock pot and the broiler, but never combined before. Your chicken dinner looks delicious!

Aunt B said...

I tried the combination of techniques on a whim some years ago, Alea, and had such a happy outcome that I've used this method every since. I'm glad you like the idea. I hope it works well for you too. :)

Unknown said...

Found this recipe link in your latest menu post and I'm SO Glad you shared it!!! I will definitely be using your technique of baking in the oven after slow cooking the chicken. It looked mouth watering Beth!! Sharing on Della Rose as well on Facebook. xoxox

Aunt B said...

I'm so glad you like the post Tara. Thank you for sharing it forward on Facebook. I really appreciate it.