I love preparing chicken in the oven; it’s a regular staple in our household for Sunday supper–we use the leftovers through the week. But while I was in the middle of my SNAP food challenge for the month of May, my oven time was severely limited, and my pantry was bare of my usual seasonings and spices, I began to experiment more with my slowcooker. A friend suggested I give lemon a try for roasting the chicken in the crock pot, and the resulting whole chicken baked in lemon was so unusual and delicious that I knew I would never be able to resist trying new crockpot chicken recipes going ahead.
Now that winter’s on it’s way, days are getting shorter and busier, which is even more reason for me to rely on my trusty crockpot. I’ve been perusing the slowcooker recipes at Ricardo Cuisine for inspiration, and while I love beef, my husband prefers chicken. My son’s dairy allergies can pose a major obstacle sometimes in finding new slowcooker recipes to try without major adaptation, but this simple recipe for a whole chicken with root vegetables was perfect–rustic and easy.
While it will never be able to develop the beautiful crisp brown skin of a Rotisserie or oven-baked chicken, a crockpot stewed or baked chicken nevertheless has a lot to recommend it. It will be the easiest, juiciest bird you will ever make; fall-from-the-bones tender; perfect for busy weeknight meals; and it can even be prepared straight from frozen, if you’ve forgotten to thaw the bird.
Many people hesitate to experiment with recipes, or they will try them and proclaim them bland, but the truth is that for the most part, recipes are only ever meant to be guidelines. Our tastes can be so varied depending on what we eat that one should feel free to tweak based on what we feel. The only thing I urge caution on is peppery stuff–since the liquid goes nowhere, pepper and spicy things can be greatly amplified by crockpot cooking, so you may want to be judicious about adding it and finish seasoning to taste at the end.
This is one such recipe that should be in everyone’s repertoire–not because it is perfect and never should be changed, but because it can be changed so easily.
I made some changes to suit what I had on hand and some of the things I love best… I swapped parsnip for rutabaga, dried thyme for fresh (which has the added benefit of dressing up the unbrowned chicken), and added white wine, because I love the taste it gives a chicken and the liquid if you choose to make gravy. The next time I make it, I could see adding a pinch of cayenne flakes, and a tablespoon of soy sauce to the broth to up the umami.
A short 5 minutes of prep, and dinner was in the pot, ready to be served in the evening with a quick salad. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
- 1 skinless chicken, about 4 lbs (1.8 kg)
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut
- 10-12 new potatoes, halved
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4-1/2 tsp dried thyme (a generous pinch)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 box chicken broth (~950ml)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
- Prep the vegetables and place most of them in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken on top of them, and fill the space around the chicken with any remaining vegetables and the bay leaf.
- Season the potatoes and chicken with a generous pinch of dried thyme (about 1/4-1/2 tsp), and moderately with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine and broth to the crock pot, and cook on low for approximately 6 hours, or high for approximately 4 hours, until chicken begins to fall off the bone.
- Remove chicken and vegetables from the crock pot, season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.
- Use crock liquid to make gravy, if desired.
- Chicken can be prepared in crockpot from frozen; add approximately 40 min to 1 hour for additional cooking time.
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Disclaimer: I was provided compensation to host the giveaway for Ricardo Cuisine.