Easier Chicken?

Jun 4, 2012

If my husband were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one thing, it would be a freezer full of chicken. Last meal? Easy, chicken. Could only eat one meal every day for the rest of his life? Chicken. Fried, baked, grilled, smoked, roasted, breaded, in a casserole, in wing sauce...doesn't matter. In summation, the man likes chicken.

When I browse online recipes looking for new dinner ideas, I always start with chicken. As a rule, it's pretty rare for him to completely dislike any chicken dish, so I feel safe experimenting. Recently I have seen more and more recipes for whole chickens cooked in a slow cooker. The recipes claimed that they were an easy way to prepare a dish similar to the roasted chickens you find in the deli at Costco and grocery stores. My husband buys these every now and then and really likes them, plus I like to use them for chicken pot pie or for soups that don't require chicken broth. Also, I love using the slow cooker, so I had to try it out.

I decided to use The Little Kitchen's recipe. I liked this recipe because she was honest about it needing to be browned under the broiler once it had reached temperature and didn't she fake that the skin was acceptable without this step. Steamed/boiled chicken skin? No thanks. Also, she cooked hers on top of vegetables which is what I had planned to do anyway.

The method was super easy and really only required placing your cut vegetable in the bottom of the slow cooker and then topping with chicken. She added her spices to the chicken prior to placing it in the cooker, but I prefer to handle the bird as little as possible, so I do it once it is sitting on the veggies.

I do this same thing when cooking in the oven and it just seems that I'm able to avoid touching tons of things with nasty chicken hands when I do it this way. The main goal of trying this method is to compare it to our current preparation, so I didn't stuff it with lemon or garlic because I don't normally make it that way. Also, the roast chicken we buy at the store is the original flavor, so only seasoning went into the cavity. The cover is then placed on the slow cooker and turned to low and then the whole thing is ignored for 6-8 hours. Our chicken was 4.5 lbs and it cooked in 6.5 hours. I then placed it in a roasting pan and broiled it for 5 minutes .

When the chicken finished cooking it appeared to be super juicy and I was excited about how successful it was.

The meat was very tender and separated from the bones very easily. The flavor was great, but the chicken did become dry as the meal went on. Reminded me a bit of poached chicken. Wet, but not juicy. Does that make sense?

We roast whole chickens in the oven fairly often and I can't say that I've ever found the process difficult. However, I am a stay at home mom, so I can start the meal at any point throughout the day and therefore do not have to wait for two hours after I get home in the evening for the chicken to be ready. The slow cooker method would definitely be a good option for families that get home late or have practice and ballet and piano to shuttle around to. I would use this recipe in the future for dinners that require poached chicken, such as salads, shredded chicken for enchiladas, etc., but I wouldn't use it as a substitute for oven roasted chicken.

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