Thursday, October 14, 2010

2 for 1 Crockpot Chicken

If you are like me, you don't blog for a living. And if you don't blog for a living, that means you probably have a job (or school) that requires you to leave your house every day for an extended period of time, therefore making it difficult sometimes to find the time to make dinner.

This is why I love my crockpot. Do you have a crockpot? Mine was the first thing I registered for when B and I got engaged. I remember my mom using the crockpot all winter long when I was a kid. I would come home from the school and the house would smell amazing and dinner would be ready. It's a super time-saver.

That's not to say that all crockpot recipes are winners. I've had my share of duds. And nothing stinks more than coming home expecting dinner to be ready only to find out that dinner needs to be thrown out and you have to start all over from scratch.

That said, roasting a chicken is my favorite way to use my crockpot. It's foolproof.

What you'll need:
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • salt, pepper, thyme
Toss the chicken in the crockpot with the lemon (cut in half), the onion (cut in quarters), and the garlic cloves. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme, set the crockpot to low, and go to work.

When you come home, you'll have a chicken so moist it is literally falling off the bone.

Separate the meat from the bones. You'll have a bowl full of delicious, perfectly-roasted chicken meat:

And a bowl full of.... gunk:

You'll be tempted to throw the gunk out, but I beseech you - DO NOT!

Instead, rinse out your crockpot and toss the gunk back in it. You're making chicken stock now!

I usually toss in an onion, a few carrots, some garlic cloves, and several wilted celery stalks along with spices (1t each thyme, basil, sage, and whole peppercorns). Really, almost any veggies will do. I was fresh out of wilted celery this week, but I had some wilted scallions, so they got tossed in. Sometimes, I'll use a potato. Whatever you've got, throw it in. Then, fill your crockpot about 3/4 full with water, set it to low and walk away.

I cooked mine overnight, but you could let it cook during the day too. It needs about 10 hours (more won't hurt).

When it's done, let it cool for an hour or so, then strain it and let it hang out in the fridge for a little longer. Skim the fat off the top and you're good to go. I like to freeze mine in 1/2-1c baggies so it is easy to use, but if you use stock super-regularly, you could just keep it in the fridge in a tupperware.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I used my roasted chicken in this yummy Butternut Squash Orzo dish from The Little Red House. It was divine (despite the crappy lighting).