Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Colder Times Call for Warmer Dinners

I hate fall.

Okay, I don't hate it. I just hate that idea that fall means that winter is coming. I know it's not as serious as it is in Game of Thrones, but it still sucks. I lost my love of winter when I stopped participating in any sort of winter sports. My goal for this year - ski at least once!

My new found love is my 6 qt slow cooker. When Matt and I first bought it last summer I started looking up recipes for delicious meals, but was disappointed to see that most of them weren't quite right for hot weather. I did find inspiration for the most amazing ribs in the world (recipe to come later) but overall, I gave up on slow cooking for the summer. Now that the weather has cooled down a great deal, I'm finally able to pull it out and try all sorts of recipes to warm us up.

I've made this two times and I've got to say - it's delicious. It's not the healthiest recipe because of the skin on the chicken, but it's all homemade which is saying something!

The Best Slow Cooker Chicken in the Whole Wide World

Inspired by Thekitchn.com's recipe

Prep time: 10-15 minutesCook time:  up to 8 hours 

Your shopping list:

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
The original recipe called for 4 tsp of salt - the most I've used is about 1 tsp. I forgot to add it to the rub last time so I just added a few twists of my salt grinder on to each side and it turned out perfectly.
1 whole chicken - small enough to fit in your slow cooker on top of veggies, but big enough to fill you!
1 medium to large onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes, quartered (or as many as can fit in the slow cooker)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed, no need to peel, chopped in halves or thirds
4 celery stalks, washed, cut in thirds
garlic cloves, peeled and minced/pressed
1 lemon quartered

What to do with it:

  1. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Arrange vegetables inside your slow cooker insert. Some potatoes may need to be shifted when you add the chicken.
  3. Prepare chicken (remove from packaging, wash and pat try with paper towel).
  4. Rub garlic all over outside of the chicken and then place it inside. 
  5. Cover the chicken with the rub (inside and out).
  6. Put the lemon chunks inside the chicken.
  7. Place chicken breast-side down on top of the vegetables. Arrange potatoes as necessary.
    Options: Cover your insert and keep it in the fridge overnight to cook the following day or cook your chicken now:
  8. Return insert to base, cover, and cook chicken on low for 8 hours (or less). Cook until the internal temperature of the leg is at 160 degrees F (or until it looks cooked, which it will!)

The original recipe now says to transfer the chicken to a glass baking dish and broil for 4-5 minutes to brown the chicken. I haven't done that since at this point I just want to eat!
If your chicken has cooked for the full 8 hours, you will barely need a knife to serve it. I use tongs to pick pieces directly from the slow cooker. 
Serve the chicken, potatoes, and carrots (I leave the celery in the slow cooker) with a mixed green salad (recipe to come).
Do not discard the bones or uneaten skin. Return all pieces to slow cooker (refrigerate overnight is necessary), add water to the brim and slow cook for another 8 hours to make great low-sodium broth.

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