Lazy Day?….Slow Cook your Whole Chicken!

When people hear that I am married to the butcher they often comment that we must eat well. They are right. But, there are days when it’s hard to convince the butcher to bring home dinner! Yep, it’s true. There are also days where I prefer to start dinner early in the day to prevent that mad rush after school. And then, there are some days I feel slightly lazy, and look for something simple to prepare. So on these days I need to dig into my freezer and come up with something fancy.

Recently, I read that you can put an entire frozen chicken in the slow cooker. I was doubtful, so of course I needed to try it!

I had previously frozen a D’Artagnan Crystal Valley All Natural Chicken, so I dug it out. These Crystal Valley Roasters are already pre-rinsed, giblets removed, and completely trussed. Perfect for popping into the slow cooker directly from my freezer!

I am happy to report; it was simple…and delicious to slow cook an entire chicken! Click through the following images to see how easy it was to prepare a delicious dinner on a lazy day.

The complete recipe is posted below the gallery

Ingredients:

One D’Artagnan Crystal Valley Whole Chicken
1/2 cup of warm water (only when slow cooking a frozen chicken)
1 cup of chicken stock ( I prefer to use Kitchen Basics brand)
6 carrots chopped into rustic size pieces
10 whole cloves of garlic
One lemon cut into 4 wedges
Fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
Freshly ground salt and pepper

1. Start by removing the whole chicken from the package. If you are using a D’artagnan Crystal Valley Chicken, you can place it directly into the slow cooker, since it has already been prepared for you. This is what makes it so simple to slow cook the chicken directly from your freezer. It has already been rinsed, trussed and giblets removed. Fantastic!

2. When using a frozen chicken, you will need to add a half cup of warm water to the bottom of the slow cooker.

3. Set the slow cooker to low setting for seven hours. Close the lid and leave alone to cook. At the three and a half hour mark, add one cup of chicken stock around the chicken. Add the chopped carrots, whole garlic cloves and lemon wedges. Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken, season with fresh salt and pepper. Place your fresh herbs on top and turn heat setting to high. Your chicken will continue to slow cook for another three and a half hours.

4. At the end of seven hours, the chicken should have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. At this point scoop the garlic cloves out of the drippings and rub them over the skin of the chicken. Gently remove the roaster from your slow cooker to a cutting board. Do this carefully as it will be very tender. Carve the legs first, then wings, and lastly the breast.

5. For a quick gravy, you can ladle some of the “drippings” into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in one and a half tablespoons of cornstarch that has been dissolved in one cup of cold water. This will thicken the gravy. Heat through and serve alongside your chicken and veggies.

Some tips:

I used a Crock Pot Brand Slow Cooker with a 6 quart capacity.

You can slow cook a fresh whole roasting chicken by omitting the warm water, and placing all ingredients in the slow cooker at the same time. Set the Slow cooker on low and cook for six hours or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. ( Place your meat thermometer between the thigh and the breast to get an accurate reading.)

If you will be away from the kitchen, you can slow cook your frozen chicken on high for six hours, adding all ingredients at the beginning. (I use the two-step method because the veggies stay firm, but it is delicious either way.)

 

These twice baked potatoes would make a really great accompaniment to your chicken. http://randsmeatmarket.com/2014/10/10/twice-baked-potatoes-with-lavender-farmstead-cheese/

Game Day… Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker…Yum!

Football season is upon us, and those who know me, will tell you that I know nothing about the game itself. I can however, recommend a whole slew of appetizers and fixens to satisfy your game day crowd.

The slow cooker is a fabulous invention. If you haven’t yet brought yours out of the attic, or up from the basement, you will want to do so; immediately! This pork shoulder recipe cooks for six hours on high, in your slow cooker, while you enjoy your Sunday. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Come game time, this pulled pork will be ready for you to serve up with your favorite Cole Slaw, Spicy pickles, Tortilla chips and rolls. Melt in your mouth delicious…

 

Click through the gallery for some quick tips…the complete recipe is below.

Ask the butcher for:
One 5-6 pound Pork Shoulder
One 28 oz bottle of your favorite thick barbecue sauce ( I prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s)
One Red Onion sliced paper-thin
Fresh ground salt and black pepper

Just a couple of tips:
-I used a Crock Pot brand programable slow cooker, six quart capacity.
-My favorite pickles come from Dave’s Pickle farm, which the butcher brings down from the Catskill Mountains. I served the Hot Garlic Dill ( sliced long ways) as well as the Gourmet Spicy Chips. The combination of the spicy pickles with the sweet pork is fantastic!
-For an appetizer, serve this pulled pork with Tortilla Chips. You could even use slider rolls to feed a larger group.
-This recipe will feed six to eight as a main course. Serve with large rolls.

Plan for seven and a half hours of total prep/cook/serve time.
Slice the red onion paper-thin and scatter in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Remove the Pork shoulder from the wrapping and season well with fresh ground salt and black pepper. On one side of the roast you will find a blanket of fat. The butcher can leave this thick or remove as much as you prefer. (I like to leave some of the fat so that it melts into the Pork as it cooks. Then prior to shredding I remove any remaining fat with a sharp knife.)
After seasoning the pork well, remove any butcher twine and place the Pork Shoulder, fat side up on top of the onions. Pour the entire twenty-eight ounce bottle of barbecue sauce directly over the Pork. Close the lid, and set timer for six hours on high.
Enjoy your afternoon:)
At the six-hour mark, remove the pork to a large bowl. Slice off any remaining fat with a sharp knife. Shred Pork with two large forks, then gently return to the slow cooker for another half hour. When time is up, turn to keep warm setting until you are ready to serve!
Ridiculously simple!
Enjoy the game:)