Sunday, 5 May 2013

Day 73: Roast Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Well, today was the day of my big family dinner. It actually went really well, food was devoured, and forks were not thrown. My sister did throw a spoon at me, but at least it wasn't a fork. Or a knife!

I started the day around nine this morning, with three chickens in my sink.

I said that to someone yesterday, and apparently she thought I meant like dead chickens, but with their heads and feathers... Gross. No, I mean raw, ready to cook fryer chickens. My mother and I agreed on slow cooker whole chickens, because yes, I have three crock pots that will fit a whole chicken. And I have two more that are too small. I have a crock pot problem.

Anyways, I guess I actually started with potatoes and carrots. When slow cooking chickens, you need to put something between the chicken and the crock pot. You can quarter some potatoes and loosely wrap them in foil, you can throw some whole carrots down, you can chop onion, carrot and potato if you like. I opted for the last one, but I quickly discovered my onion had gone bad, so it was just carrots and potatoes.

I rinsed two pounds of baby potatoes, and roughly chopped a pound of carrots and divided them between the crock pots, so that all of the bottoms were covered.

Then I mixed up a few spices in a bowl.

I took each chicken one by one and rinsed it, patted it dry with paper towel, rubbed it down with the spice mix, set it in a slow cooker, and tossed two or three garlic cloves inside. I put two of the chickens with their breast bone up, and one of them with the backside up, and the only difference I noticed was that the breast-down one came out in one piece, whereas the other two came out in about twenty-five pieces. That could be several other factors too, but I would suggest putting it breast bone down.

And then I put the appropriate lids on, and turned them all on low. I put them on at 9:30, and the first chicken came out around 5:30, with the last one coming out closer to 7. Around 4, the chicken in the biggest crock pot (with the most room) starting falling apart, and within an hour, it had collapsed completely. It doesn't need to be that dramatic, but you should see the meat starting to pull away from bone. And that means you have juicy, succulent, fall-of-the-bone chicken, with little-to-no effort.

I also made mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus, and served the potatoes and carrots from the bottom of the slow cookers. They were well cooked, and very savoury. I didn't plan on serving them, but we ran out of mashed potatoes and all the menfolk were complaining. They were delicious enough to have served them in the beginning though. Oh, and I also made gluten-free gravy with the chicken drippings from the slow cookers, and a gluten-free thickener I bought for stew (that I never made).

Roasted Chicken in a Slow Cooker
1 fryer chicken
2 cups roughly chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-4 whole garlic cloves

Put the chopped vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot.
Mix all of the dry spices together. Rinse the chicken, then pat down with a paper towel. Rub spice mixture all over the chicken, and under the skin of the breast.
Set the chicken on top of the vegetables, then place the garlic cloves inside the cavity.
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours, until the meat starts falling off the bones.

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