Oh my goodness I am almost embarrassed to admit how afraid I have been to cook a whole chicken.
I’m not sure what about it kept me from it the most.
The thought of pulling out the giblets
or the spare hair and feathers still stuck to it
the possibility of missing some of those pesky little bones or what. But to be honest raw chicken in general grosses me out even the boneless skinless chicken boobs. But prices are going up and I hate paying so much more for someone else to do things that I am quite capable of doing myself so I promised myself that sometime in August I would do it. I would buy a whole bird, cook it, eat it and make my own stock.
I found this recipe on 100 Days of Real Food (one of my favorite recipe sites on the web, oh and did you hear she just published her first cookbook? SOOOO exciting! If you have not discovered her yet head over there and check it out, you will NOT be sorry!
I only modified her recipe slightly because I mean she DID say it was the best whole chicken recipe ever!! But I used red pepper flakes instead of cayenne. Here is the ingredients you need:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large onion
- 1 large chicken
If you plan on making stock also you need
- an additional onion
- bay leaf
Before you tackle the bird go ahead and mix all the dry spices together in a bowl
Peel and coarsely chop up your onion and place it in the bottom of you slow cooker.
Then grab the whole chicken.
Open it up, pull out the baggie of disgusting little bits inside (don’t look, just pop it out and hide it under a paper towel in the sink until you are ready to throw all the packaging away!)
If you are not as grossed out as me at this point. Congratulations.
If you are. keep going, you can wash your hands 1000 times in just a minute.
Rinse off the chicken (I also washed out the inside cavity)
Now if you are a Real Housewife junkie (like me) I would remind you not to clean
your chicken like Adrienne…no soap, just hot water required-
pat the poor little animal dry and then coat
with the dry spices. Rub it in there good trying to cover all the surface area and even getting some into the cavity.
I had a friend tell me to get it up under the skin but I could not bring myself to stick my hand in between the meat and the skin and it came out just fine on top. Perhaps as I get braver I will give that a try but this is all about baby steps!
Once the bird is covered in spice place it on top of the onions in the slow cooker.
close it up and turn it on for about 5 hours on high
or until it starts just pulling off the bone
I left mine untouched about 4.5 hours and when I checked on it I could already see the meat pulling off the center bone so I scooped some of the onion and juices from the bottom on top just to make sure it did not start to dry out before my husband got home from work for dinner.
Once it’s all cooked just pull the meat off the bones and enjoy!
The first night we just served this with some brown rice and it was super moist and delicious.
My 6 year old declared it the “best chicken she has ever had in her whole life” so I guess it was a winner! The leftovers we put away in the fridge and used during the week for chicken enchilada’s, chicken salad (with mashed avocado instead of mayo) and chicken white bean chili and it tasted great in all of them.
I also decided to give the chicken stock a shot. I left the juices and cooked down onion in the slow cooker, added back in the carcass once we picked all the meat off it, threw in some baby carrots, chopped celery, a bay leaf, some parsley and thyme and a second peeled and coarsely chopped onion. I filled the slow cooker up with water and turned it on low and left it all night. It smelled amazing when we came down the next morning. I would say it was super easy (because it was) but the next step was a little time consuming and messy. You need to drain out all the bones and chunks of veggies and stuff. I found it was easier to do it in a few steps. I used a large colander and drained the biggest stuff out all at once and then poured small amounts at a time through my smaller colander and then measured it by cups into freezer bags that I stacked and put in the freezer to use for fall soups, stews and my favorite pulled pork recipe. We used some of the homemade stock in the white bean chicken chili I made last night and we could all taste the difference in flavor, It was definitely worth the mess of all that straining!!
I am so happy I tried something new. It was delicious, easy and a total hit and will also save me money at the store. WIN,WIN, WIN!!!!!
So off with you- go buy a chicken and try this one at home!!
~eat well, be well