When I was a little girl, every year on my birthday, my mother would ask me, “what do you want for your birthday dinner?” And every year I would answer, “chicken and rice”. To this day, chicken and rice is my favorite meal by far. It brings back warm memories of childhood, and reminds me of more carefree days.
In my book, chicken is one of the most difficult things to nail. A smaller version of the Thanksgiving turkey, the breast meat often dries out before the dark meat is done. Nothing is worse than dry poultry. It conjures up that image from the movie Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase sticks his knife into the beautifully brown turkey only to be greeted by a blast of dry air and desiccated meat. This has happened to all of us at least once.
Or you think your golden bird is done and remove it from the oven to soon only to find it is still pink. So you cut it up and nuke it. Nothing like overcooked, rubbery chicken!
I usually avoid cooking a whole chicken for this reason, and stick to chicken parts-particularly thigh meat. They are easy to cook and always turns out moist. But sometimes a whole chicken is the only thing that will do, especially if you are expecting people over for dinner or want extra meat for salad or soup.
How to solve the dilemma of the dried out chicken? Read on McDuff!!
During my usual of browsing the internet, looking for new recipes and methods, I came across a great crockpot recipe for whole chicken. Crockpot recipes can be overcomplicated and time consuming, as you often have to do pre-cooking of meats and vegetables. Not this one. It couldn’t be any easier.
- Start with a 4-6 pound chicken. Anything smaller will dry out, even in the crockpot
- slice one onion and spread out on the bottom of the crockpot-this will prevent the chicken from sticking
- you can use a crockpot liner if you wish
- take your chicken out of the package-DO NOT RINSE IT! This will spread bacteria!
- Drain chicken of all blood and pat dry
- season as you wish-I used thyme, sage, Mrs. Dash original blend and salt and pepper to taste
- No need for butter, oil or broth
- place chicken BREAST SIDE DOWN in the crockpot (this is the secret)
- turn crockpot to high for one hour
- after one hour turn to low and cook for an additional 3-4 hours or until drumsticks are loose and chicken falls off the bone
That’s it! You will have to check the chicken for doneness since it is upside down-this might require you to remove it. Or you can cook breast side up, but the breast meat will be much moister if you cook it upside down. The chicken cooks in its own juices. Depending on the size you will have to modify the cooking time. Chicken cooks more quickly in a crockpot than a beef stew would. My six pounder barely fit in the crockpot but a smaller chicken would be easier to check for doneness.
The only drawback is that the skin will not crisp. You can either remove it (still tastes good so this is up to you) or crisp it under the broiler if you wish. You will never taste a moister, flavorful chicken.
Please share your comments-I am interested to know if you agree!