Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Slow Cook a Whole Chicken
Part of my money-saving mindset is, not only getting the most from every penny spent, but also getting the most from everything that I've bought. One of the ways I do this is by cooking a whole large chicken in my slow cooker. And it's seriously quick and simple to do. The meat falls off the bone when it's finished and is juicy and tender. Two added bonuses: no meat goes to waste and less energy is used than if you were to roast the chicken in the oven. Ca-ching!
Remember the reduced large chicken I bought a couple weeks ago? It went in the freezer the day I bought it and came out to thaw the day before it went in the slow cooker.
First I place 3 small upturned dipping bowls in a large 6.5L slow cooker. This will prop the chicken off the bottom of the slow cooker to allow the chicken juices to sit below the chicken during the cooking. If you don't have small bowls, simply ball up some aluminum foil and use this instead. Another option is to put carrots and onions on the bottom to slow cook with the chicken (check out some other websites), I just haven't tried this yet.
If you wash your chicken before roasting it, please don't. From what I read and understand on other websites, this can spread bacteria and salmonella around your sink and kitchen, and it's simply not necessary to do so. So package to slow cooker (or oven). Then I sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of the bird.
Now that you have that wonderful meat, serve it as you would with veg and side dishes. We like ours with barbecue sauce. With our family of 4, there is always leftover chicken. We usually end up using it for chicken wraps for the next evening's meal, but as others suggested on the Finding the Pennies Facebook page leftover chicken can be used in chicken and vegetable pie, chicken salad and chicken soup. I'm sure there are many, many more uses.
Ok, I'm not finished. At the bottom of the slow cooker you're left with glorious, golden chicken stock. Once the slow cooker has cooled (after dinner for us) I strain the juices through a sieve and put it in the fridge. As the liquid cools in the fridge, the fat left in the juices, rises and solidifies on top. I skim this off and throw it away. I almost feel guilty throwing away perfectly good chicken fat, but I simply don't know what I can do with it! I'll have to ask my friend. If she has ideas for me, I'll be sure to pass them along. I take the jelly-like chicken stock, tip it into a freezer bag, label it and stick it in the freezer for the next time I'm making soup. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, but I forgot. Sorry :o(
I hope this has inspired you to try to slow cook a chicken. It's definitely worth doing and is something I do at least once a month. Enjoy!