Monday, October 15, 2012

Something to Come Home To: Slow Cooker Whole Chicken


Heads up, fellow cheapskates! (Or fellow people who spend their money on shoes, vacations and concert tickets). Aldi has 5lb frozen chickens for about $4. I was tired of shelling out $8 for a small rotisserie from the grocery store that I had no control over the ingredients or extra fat going into it. If you've got a big enough crock pot, you can slow cook an entire chicken into a moist, fall off the bone feast.

Frozen chickens are usually cheaper and (bonus!) you don't have to worry about it spoiling when you need to put off cooking for late nights at work or last minute happy hours. However, it will take abut 48 hours for it to thaw in the fridge, so you'll have to plan ahead. I like to make these overnight on Sundays or during the day on Mondays. Then I've got great, no fat added chicken meat for soups, casseroles, salads and sandwiches all week.

You'll need:

- 4-5 lb chicken
- 1 large onion
- 4 carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 potatoes
- 1 lemon

For the dry rub:
- 8 tsp salt
- 4 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp white peper
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs cracked black pepper

It looks messy, but trust. Just trust.

Dry rub and most of the recipe blatantly stolen from The Little Kitchen.

1) Rough chop the potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery and line the bottom of the cooker with these veggies. No need to peel or rinse, they'll cook just fine over the day. The potatoes are optional as they don't add to the flavor of the chicken, but they DO absorb the chicken fat and you'll regret not throwing a couple potatoes in once you smell the roast at the end of the day.

2) Remove the giblets bag and the neck from the chicken if yours came with these. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place on a large cutting board.

3) Slice the lemon in half, removing the seeds and some of the juice. Then stick that sucker up the chicken's butt.

4) Smash the garlic cloves and rub over the skin of the chicken. Stick the leftover garlic stubs in the butt, too. Yes, I'm going to talk about stuffing stuff up chicken butts as many times as I possibly can. Spin off blog? Maybe.

5) Mix the seasonings together in a bowl to create the dry rub. Rub all over both sides of the chicken and evenly coat the skin. I have tried making my own rubs (italian style, rosemary and thyme, etc.) and they're not as good as the dry rub above. Trust. If I'm saying don't stray from the recipe, you know I mean it. I did double it though. Much like Miley Cyrus, I can't be tamed.

6) Put the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the veggies and close that lid up. Place on low for about 6-8 hours. This is best to set just before you go to bed or just before you leave the house for work.

When you get home your house is going to smell something incredible and you'll be so glad you can eat it RIGHT THEN. As you can see in the picture above, the meat falls off the bone so easily that it's hard to get a pretty, intact picture of the bird. So no, this isn't a thing of beauty to serve guests, but it's a great staple to take you away from mystery grocery store birds and the nitrates in lunch meat.

A FEW MORE NOTES...

You're going to have a lot of meat. A lot. And you might not be able to eat it all in the four to five days it's good in the fridge. But no worries! You can freeze the cooked meat and it's great in chilis, soups and casseroles. (In fact, I thawed some from an earlier roast for my Creamy Chicken, Mushroom and Leak Soup.) Not so great in non-liquid based dishes as the thawed chicken can get dry.

You're also going to have a lot of leftover liquids. I haven't tried it yet, but apparently you can use the leftover liquid and bones to make your own stock in the same crock pot. I'm lazy, so I just froze the delicious liquids into single serving ice cube trays (extra ice cube trays are the best $2 I've ever spent at the dollar store). I've used them to flavor sauces and as an added punch to boxed/canned chicken stock and broth.

And last but not least, this is super people and animal pleasing. Photographic evidence:

Introducing Ollie! Ollie has a sister, Franny. They're both insane, adorable and at least slightly obese.
This shot was taken after I made him get off the counter, hence the indignant and jealous stare. 
He wanted that bird, bad.
He got some meat as a treat later.
I'm not a perfect woman, okay?



4 comments:

  1. Just make a chicken soup from the left over bones and meat that was left on the bones. Super healthy, no carbs...but you can always add some if you want. It's not hard either, just add water thyme rosemary scallions celery (you can add carrots but that's not on my list of good veggies) and spices. Then cook down ( I didn't use a crock pot, although you can, and I simmered for about 5 hours.

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  2. So doing this! I may throw in some egg noodles too for my carb needing Kentucky husband/your skinny fat best friend.

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  3. Haha I thought about using rice too, but egg noodles would add a little something special too!!

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  4. Thank you, Jackie, for a delicious supper for my family tonight! The house smelled great when we came home from school and work. :-) It's the first time to your blog - I love your sense of humour and the recipe was terrific, so I'll come back for sure.

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