Since the weather is getting warmer and muggier one may not want to be standing over a hot oven baking/sauteing/frying so investing in a slow cooker is the way to go for a more carefree (and cooler) summer. As with most meals, there's a certain amount of planning beforehand that needs to go into it which is why a lot of people end up eating junk. Well, my advice to you is to buy a slow cooker (Crockpot) and maybe a calender to jot down what menu you'll have (and plan) during the week so you know when to thaw things out. :) Now you can relax a little more this summer.
This recipe is SUPER SIMPLE and takes only a few ingredients (and patience of waiting since it involves a slow cooker).
SUPER SIMPLE Chicken-in-a-Crockpot
- 1 large (3-4 lbs) whole chicken (organic.farmers market - highly recommended)
- 1 onion (white or yellow)
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 teaspoon minced or whole garlic
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- OPTIONAL: Instead of all those dry spices listed above, you can use a Cajun spice premixed or Jamaican Jerk spice mix depending on the type of cuisine you want your meal to take on.
- Combine all of the dried spices into a small bowl to mix up.
- Rough chop the onion, celery & garlic. Larger chunks are best to place on the bottom of the slow cooker to elevate the whole chicken.
- [WARNING: Here's the kind of gross part, at least for me it was not pleasant.] Take the whole chicken (on a separate, poultry designated cutting/prep board) and remove the giblets (inner grossness).
- Rub the dry spices ALL over the whole chicken (this reminds me of rubbing lotion on a baby so this weirded me out a bit) and be sure to get into all of the crevices. Rub some of the spices into the cavity of the chicken too.
- Place the spice rubbed chicken into the slow cooker on top of the rough chopped onions & celery. Cover the Crockpot and set it on HIGH. No liquid needed, believe it or not!
- Cook for 4-5 hours. The delicious, juicy meat will literally be falling off of the bone!
- If you want, you can also make your own homemade chicken stock from the remains (bones and all) in your Crockpot! Thanks to 100 Days of Real Food blog for inspiration. If you do, be sure you have a fine strainer or even cheesecloth to sift out the bits and pieces. Freeze the stock to use for future use.
I made some rice, beans, and veggies or salad to have along side this juicy meal. This is great for a party as well since you can make the meal go a long way.
LEFTOVER INSPIRATION: Pulled chicken sandwiches, enchiladas, tortilla soup, on top of salad, Buffalo chicken dip... a lot of possibilities!
|Chopped onion and garlic (and celery not shown); bottom of Crockpot|
|The spice rub - use your own mixture or a Cajun or Jamaican Jerk pre-mix|
|THE WHOLE CHICKEN -- there it is, a blank canvas.|
|Spice rubbed WHOLE organic chicken|