Though I have a slow cooker, I've never been a huge fan of using it. I often found that food came out dry...which always perplexed me considering the food was being braised in liquid, or the food was mushy or stringy with an unappealing texture. I have a few recipes here and there where I do use my slow cooker with excellent results, like my Sweet & Spicy Apple Pork, Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, Slow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms, Lamb Curry, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, and my Crockpot Baked Stuffed Apples but for the most part, my slow cooker is used when I have guests and want to keep a food item hot on the buffet table.
The idea of cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker had me envisioning stringy, tasteless, potted meat...totally unappealing. But then I saw Michelle's recipe for Slow cooker roast chicken and gravy and the pictures were mouthwatering delicious. I read her post where she spoke about having the same experiences of stringy, dry slow cooker chicken but that the method she used for the whole chicken had it coming out delicious, moist and wonderful, so I decided to give it a try. I followed Michelle's cooking directions and part of her recipe but I used seasonings closer to what I use when making my Rotisserie Chicken.
The chicken smelled amazing as it cooked and I was happy to see that when time was finished and I opened the lid, the chicken looked delicious and appealing instead of pale and anemic. I carefully lifted the chicken from the cooker to the cutting board but trust me, that was difficult as the meat was fall off the bone tender. I pulled off a small piece and tentatively put it in my mouth, hoping for moist, delicious chicken with a gorgeous texture and I was one happy gal when that's exactly what I got. The chicken was really close in mouth feel and taste to my Rotisserie Chicken. Then I made the easy-peasy gravy following Michelle's directions and WOW, was that off the charts good, even for this gravy eschewing gal. I pulled all the chicken from the bones and then placed the bones and skin back into the empty, un-rinsed slow cooker, added an onion, some carrots, garlic, bay leaves and water, set the slow cooker to high and a few hours later I had a nice crock of Cheaters Chicken Soup.
Eammon, Maisie and I all loved both the chicken and the gravy. I'm telling you, what an easy way to have a healthy and delicious dinner ready and on the table especially on Maisie's late gymnastics nights. This recipe is a keeper and I'll be making it time and time again.
- 4-6 pound whole chicken
- 2 TBS. ghee
- 2 cups medium chopped onions
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 TBS. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Cheaters Chicken Soup or chicken stock
- sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
Melt the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and allow it to soften. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly for a minute or two. Add the chicken stock to the pan and deglaze. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture to the bottom of the crockpot.
While the onions are cooking, in a small bowl mix together all the spices from the paprika to the cayenne pepper.
Remove anything that may be in the cavity of the bird and rinse the bird well. Dry the bird with paper towels and then sprinkle the spice mix inside the cavity and all over the skin, covering all surfaces.
Place the bird breast side down on the onion mixture, cover the slow cooker and set to cook on low for 4-6 hours. My chicken was 5.5 pounds and it cooked for 5.25 hours.
When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the cooker. Defat the cooking liquids and then using an immersion blender, blend to make gravy.
Slice or pull apart the chicken and serve with the gravy.
Michelle notes to always cook the chicken on low and never for more than 6 hours if you want a moist and tender chicken.