October 9, 2018
Chicken is a dinner favourite; it’s relatively easy to make, packs a lot of protein, and tastes good almost every way you prepare it.
This week we’ve got an easy way to make a delicious whole roasted chicken, that’s ready to eat as soon as you get home from work.
Try Slow Cooker Roast Chicken This Week
Choose a chicken from the Co-op meat department that looks plump and feels heavy, but at the same time, you’ll want to make sure it fits in your slow cooker with the lid closed; the Co-op Alberta Chicken Whole Fryer is a perfect choice.
Don’t use a frozen bird, as they can release too much water into the slow cooker, making for a mushy bird.
Prepare a Base Layer
You’ll want to create a base layer so the chicken doesn’t spend all day stewing in its own juices, that’s a different recipe altogether. There are a couple of methods for creating a base layer for the chicken to sit on. Some recipes recommend crafting a ring of crumpled tin foil that acts as a small rack but you can also use a layer of one to two inch thick sliced onions or apples, chunked potatoes, or even a thick layer of mixed vegetables. The bonus of using the vegetables is that you’ve got an instant side dish too. Just be sure to cut the vegetables into larger pieces, since this keeps them from overcooking.
Season the Chicken Well
You can then season your roast chicken however you’d like, but seasoning is key to keeping the chicken from looking a little pasty when removed from the cooker.
Whether you prefer a store-bought spice rub, or creating your own, the choice is up to you. Go traditional with a mélange of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, or think Indian with a pungent curry rub. You can even try Thai with Srirachra and lime salt or Mexican by using an envelope of taco seasoning!
One other option for a juicy bird is to cut a lemon into thirds and place one or two of the pieces in the cavity of the chicken, or use apple chunks, onion or even oranges to add a little moisture that can permeate the chicken from the inside out. Plus it adds a nice hint of flavour.
Cooking Times for Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
Once you’ve rubbed the seasoning all over your chicken, it’s ready to go into the slow cooker. Depending how much time you have, set the slow cooker on low (this will take about 7-8 hours) or on high (you’ll need about 4-5 hours). Try to keep the lid on at all times, as each time you open it can add about 15 more minutes to the overall cook time. Once you get home from work, use a meat thermometer to see if the thickest part of the thigh and the breast has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s not ready, let it sit in the slow cooker for a bit longer. You could also skip down to the next step, and finish it off in the oven, which will also brown the bird nicely.
How to Brown Your Slow Cooker Chicken
If you’re looking to brown your chicken, you have several options. If you want to try to prepare your chicken to brown before cooking it, you can paint a mixture of canola oil and butter on it using a pastry brush before adding the seasoning.
Otherwise take the chicken out of the slow cooker when it’s done, transfer it to a baking pan, and broil it in the oven for a while, checking every so often to see that it’s appropriately browned and cooked through.
Enjoy Your Fresh Roasted Chicken
You can now take your beautiful chicken out and let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool off a little before carving it up for the family. If you’ve added that vegetable layer in the bottom, you should have delectably juicy roasted vegetables and potatoes for an instant side dish, but of course you could prepare some easy packaged mashed potatoes, rice or a side salad too.
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