Crock-Pot slow cookers may take all day, but they make quick work of meal preparation. With most recipes, all you do is assemble the ingredients, add them to the Crock-Pot, turn it on, and walk away. Using a method known as braising, slow cookers employ low, steady heat over a long period of time to work magic on food. Flavors have time to develop fully, and normally tough meats fall off the bone. Cooked the slow, low-fat way in a Crock-Pot, a whole, cut-up chicken comes out moist and tender.
Coarsely chop onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Place the vegetables in the slow cooker. Arrange the chicken parts on top of the vegetables, starting with the breasts, meat-side down. Sprinkle salt, pepper, basil and thyme over the chicken. Pour in one-half cup of water.
Place the lid on the pot. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Chicken may also be cooked on high for 4 to 5 hours; increase the amount of water to 1 cup.
Transfer the chicken pieces from the slow cooker to a serving platter using a slotted spoon or wire mesh strainer. Remove the vegetables and arrange them on the platter.
Empty the remaining liquid from the slow cooker into a gravy separator or skim off the fat with a spoon. Use the juice as a base for gravy or as a sauce to serve with the chicken.
Things You'll Need
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery with tops
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup water, or 1 cup if cooking on high
3- to 4-pound fryer chicken, cut into parts
Fat separator (optional)
One slow-cooked chicken can be used as the base for several meals. Increase the liquid up to 2 quarts and use the broth to make soup. Shred some of the breast meat for sandwiches or tacos and dice the rest for chicken salad. Dark meat makes a moist and flavorful filling for enchiladas. Odd bits and leftovers can be put in a pot pie.
Read the label on the package of chicken to determine if it has been "enhanced" with any added sodium in the form of broth, and reduce the salt you use to compensate.
Thoroughly wash your hands and all utensils that come in contact with raw poultry. Make sure chicken is completely thawed before cooking it in a slow cooker.