A juicy, roast chicken that is so moist and tender it falls off the bone is the ultimate comfort food. I know what you’re thinking: sounds delicious, but “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Well, it turns out, you can plop a whole chicken into a crockpot in the morning (with ten minutes of prep time) and come home to a perfectly roasted chicken by dinner time. And it’s the perfect, post-workout protein-rich meal.
If throwing a whole chicken into a crockpot sounds like a recipe for disaster and salmonella, you’re not alone. Believe me, I was skeptical too when I first saw the recipe on The Hollywood Hot Moms blog. But after road testing this a couple of times, I’ve become obsessed with my crockpot. Even the most culinary-impaired can do this and no fire alarms will be activated in the process. Between the leftovers, you have extra chicken for fajitas, chicken salad and if you’re especially resourceful, you can save the bones and make homemade chicken broth for soup.
Get a 3-4 lb whole chicken. Preferably organic and free-range for the healthiest, tastiest bird (if your budget allows).
No need to rinse the chicken. I know that people feel strongly about washing their foul fowl, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture and food safety experts actually caution against washing chickens in your sink since it actually increases the risk of spraying dangerous bacteria all over your kitchen.
However, don’t forget to remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken!
Rub 2 tbsp of butter/olive oil/grapeseed oil/your choice all over. It’s probably way too early in the morning to be massaging and fisting cold poultry, but try to be strong.
Use a dry rub of choice all over the chicken, inside and out. For ease, I just picked up a bottle of McCormick’s Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb at the grocery store. But you can use any combination or seasonings and spices you want. Here’s a suggestion for a dry rub you can make from your own spice rack, if you don’t have a pre-made one.
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
• 2-3 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic (either cloves or chopped)
• lemon slices
• 2 bay leaves
* No need to add any liquids to the crockpot. Don’t worry, the chicken will be swimming in its own juices during the cooking process.
Place chicken in crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high.
You can line the bottom of your crock pot with veggies and/or herbs of choice. I happened to have lemons and garlic on hand, as well as fresh rosemary from my garden, so that’s what I used. However, carrots, celery and onions would also be great! (For extra ease, you can buy already diced mirepoix – carrots, celery and onions – at your grocery store and Trader Joe’s).
At the halfway point, you can throw in some baby potatoes or other chopped up veggies to cook along with the chicken as well.
Serve up that bad boy! *Note – If you must eat that fatty chicken skin and want it to be crispy and golden, you can take an extra optional step and place it in a baking pan and broiling it in your oven for a few minutes.
Don’t forget to ladle the yummy juices from the crockpot over your chicken – it makes a great tasting gravy on its own.
SOURCE: adapted from Hollywood Hot Moms
Minsun Park is a blogger, writer and a black belt in taekwondo who gets her ass handed to her daily by her two sons. She’s written for iVillage, SheKnows, ePregnancy and is featured in “The Hot Mom’s Handbook” by Jessica Denay. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter