I found this recipe on a blog I follow called A Year of Slow Cooking. I think I have explained before that the blog author also put out a cookbook recently called Make It Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O'Dea. Both book and blog are excellent, with lots of easy and family-relevant recipes from which to draw inspiration.
Stephanie's instructions indicate that you can use either chicken parts or the whole bird for this dish; I opted for the whole chicken. I typically don't have good luck with chicken--especially whole chicken--in the slow cooker, but I am hoping that this recipe breaks that unfortunate trend. I like the simplicity of the 'whole-chicken-in-the-crock pot' idea, because I can usually make the excess parts pull double duty. I plan to use the leftover carcass and drippings to make homemade chicken stock later this evening. Roasted potatoes and glazed carrots will round out our chicken dinner. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Slow Cooker 20 to 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
From: A Year of Slow Cooking
3-4 pounds chicken (either whole OR bone-in, skin-on parts)
1 large onion, sliced (I used 2 medium-sized onions)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
20-40 garlic cloves, peeled, but intact (I used 20 cloves)
I used a 6 quart oval slow cooker. Place onion slices on the bottom of the stoneware insert. In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken parts with olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper, and all of the garlic cloves. Pour into slow cooker, on top of the onion.
***Do not add water.*** Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.
I put my chicken breast-side down, on top of the onions. I set my slow cooker on high, to cook for 4 hours.
This was not great. Once again, my chicken dried out! I think I am giving up on the "whole chicken in the slow cooker" idea. I just can't seem to make it work. I know other people do it with good results, but mine always turns out dry, flavorless, and unappetizing looking. Sigh...oh well. I was also surprised by the amount of liquid that ended up in the slow cooker. The onions and chicken gave off a bunch of drippings, which basically turned the chicken into a stew. The chicken skin was absolute rubber. Ick...not good. I did like the flavor of the garlic and onions on top of the chicken (with skin removed), but that is all the positive feedback I can muster right now. Other than that, I am fairly disappointed. This recipe did, however, make me want to make the real French version of this dish, 'Chicken with 40 Cloves'. There was enough of a vague resemblance to make me crave the real deal. Needless to say, I don't think I will make this recipe again (certainly not with a whole chicken).