November 12, 2019
Whole chickens generally conjure images of the entire bird, roasted and golden, emerging from the oven surrounded by potatoes and perhaps half a lemon. A simple roasted chicken is a wonderful thing, but there are other ways to prepare a whole bird, especially if your goal is leftovers.
Any meat that has been cooked on the bone is more flavourful than cuts that haven’t, which is part of the reason leftover roasted chicken makes such wonderful sandwiches, and the meat itself can be used in virtually any dish that begins by sautéing diced skinless, boneless chicken breast. But there’s another way to do it, that’s even easier, if you don’t mind foregoing the crisp skin. Put your entire bird into a slow cooker, add a small amount of water and any aromatics you like - fresh herbs, ginger, lemongrass, garlic - and cook on low for 4-6 hours. The meat will be ridiculously juicy, having contained all its moisture as it slowly cooks, and it’s simple to strain all that leftover liquid and have stock to stash away in the freezer without an extra step.
You could even get the two together in a soup or noodle bowl right away—soak or simmer noodles and add to stock, chicken and your choice of quick-cooking vegetables (frozen peas, greens, boy choy) and seasonings, or add a container of soup or stew vegetable mix to the slow cooker for the last hour of cooking time. Remove the bird and when it’s cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones, returning some to the slow cooker and putting the rest away for the best possible sandwiches all week long.
1 whole chicken
lemon, herbs, garlic or ginger, if you like
1 pkg soup or stew mix (optional)
Place the chicken in the bowl of a slow cooker and season with salt. Add about 1 cup water and if you like, a halved lemon, a few garlic cloves, fresh herbs or thin slices of fresh ginger.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you like, add a package of soup or stew mix for the last hour. Remove the chicken and when it’s cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot (if you’ve cooked veggies), or strain and reserve the stock, and use the chicken in sandwiches, salads, pasta, soup, tacos, or anything you might make with diced skinless, boneless chicken breast. To make a noodle bowl, simmer noodles and/your choice of veggies in the stock until tender, return some of the chicken to the bowl, and season with salt, curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce, or anything else you like.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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