September 17, 2008

Jen's Crock Pot Whole Chicken Surprise

I am improvising my way through dinner tonight. I have been thawing a whole chicken for the better part of this week, and it was finally ready for action today (i.e. completely thawed). I had some stuff to do this morning, so I was fairly busy and I did not stop to think about dinner. I really did not know what I was going to do with my thawed whole chicken, being the procrastinator that I am sometimes. So, I got home after lunch time and quickly decided that I was going to put the chicken in the crock pot.
Now, I must say I am not a fan of whole chickens in the slow cooker. I have never made one that turned out great. Typically, the breast meat always gets dried out and you are left with stringy chicken meat. Not good eats. But, necessity overruled common sense today...and I put it in the crock pot, anyway. Although, I am trying a different method this time. I told myself that the new method will make all the difference, and the chicken will be yummy. I put additional liquid in the bottom of my slow cooker, and I am cooking the bird breast side down. Hopefully, those new steps will keep the meat juicy and succulent.
There really is no fancy recipe for this one. The method is loosely based off of a recipe that my friend Claire found in a slow cooker cookbook (we discovered we both had the same cookbook, but I had never tried it). For tonight's version, I literally threw stuff together and I am not even sure if it is going to work right. That is about as loosely based as you can get, my friends! I am praying our chicken will be edible by dinner time. Keep your fingers crossed! I am going to serve this lovely meal with some good old fashioned boxed stuffing, and some steamed veggies. I am not sure what veggies are out in my freezer, so I will go out there and just pick a bag.
If the chicken totally stinks or is not done cooking, we have plenty of leftover enchiladas to warm up instead. Thank goodness for back up plans! I think I am going to save the chicken carcass and make chicken stock tonight, too. If I do make stock, I will post it as separate recipe. Wish us luck!

Jen's Crock Pot Whole Chicken Surprise

1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry (inside and out)
1 whole white onion
4 carrots, chopped into big pieces
3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped into big pieces
3 smashed, whole garlic cloves
4 whole basil leaves, torn
1 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 T paprika
1 T onion powder
1 T minced onion
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried parsley
1 T poultry seasoning
1 T dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

Season inside chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Place whole chicken in crock pot and coat with olive oil. Rotate chicken in crock pot by turning, so oil is even on all sides. Season with all the spices indicated in recipe, and additional salt and pepper to outside of the bird. Rotate chicken again to make sure all the spices are evenly coated, on all sides. Pour chicken broth and lemon juice over chicken. Add celery, onions, garlic, and carrots on top and sides of chicken. MAKE SURE CHICKEN IS BREAST SIDE DOWN. Cover with lid and cook on high setting for 4 1/2 hours.

Jen's Notes:
All measurements are totally estimated. I literally eyeballed everything and just threw it in the slow cooker. Consider that your warning...

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