Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken and Chicken Stock

We've been making a lot of whole chickens recently. I've cooked them in the oven but particularly enjoy them out of the slow cooker. They're great as a first meal with veggies, then in other meals like fried rice, pastas, quesadillas as leftovers. I like to have a whole chicken ready at the start of a weekend so we don't have to do much cooking after a long week.

Every chicken I make is a little different, but they all follow the same general process. First, I grab whatever herbs catch my attention. This last time I mixed together some oregano, basil, paprika, rosemary, pepper, and a good amount of kosher salt. Then I added olive oil and stirred it all together. After pulling the gizzards out of the chicken cavity, I used my hands to pull the skin away from the meat. Then I rubbed my herb blend all around the meat underneath the skin to make sure the chicken got good flavor. I rubbed the last bits of the blend on the outside of the skin so it's also well flavored (making it ready for making stock after the chicken's done). Then I put the chicken in my slow cooker and cooked it on low for about 5 hours. I do check the temperature with an instant read thermometer as I get to the end to make sure it doesn't cook too long.

After pulling off all the meat from the bones, I put all the bones and skin back in the slow cooker and fill it a little past 3/4 full with water. Then I let this cook on low overnight. In the morning, I strain it and have my chicken stock ready to make soup or freeze for recipes later on.