Thursday, February 21, 2013
I wish I'd figured this out sooner. I roast chickens pretty frequently (well, compared to how often I repeat other recipes, anyway). And while I've gotten pretty comfortable with the process, it still takes some dedicated time and patience to get it right. Not anymore. Now I know I can just throw the whole thing and a slew of vegetables in the slow cooker and walk away. And chances are it'll turn out even more juicy and tender than if I stood in front of the oven for an hour.
The only difference is that your crock pot won't brown the skin. But that can be solved by birdie basking under the broiler for a few minutes. Meanwhile you'll make the richest, most delicious gravy with all those drippings that'll accumulate in the bottom of the pot. Don't let them go to waste! This gravy is easy. I promise you'll be wowed. Serve with a loaf of bread for soaking up every last morsel, of course.
Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Gravy
potatoes (I used a 2 lb. bag of fingerling potatoes, but any variety will work, peeled and chopped if necessary)
carrots, peeled and chopped
whole cloves garlic, skins removed
other vegetables of your choice (parsnip, turnips, green beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprinkling fresh or dried thyme and rosemary (or whatever herbs/spices you want)
drizzle extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
3-4 lb. whole chicken
1/4-1/2 cup water
1-2 Tbsp. butter
1-2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place vegetables (including onion and garlic) in the bottom of the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with herbs/spices. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables (I put mine breast side down, just make sure the lid will close tight) and drizzle with a bit of olive oil or melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and another sprinkling of herbs/spices. Pour in 1/4-1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours). The chicken is done once the internal temperature reaches 165 F. The meat should easily come off the bone at the thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the slow cooker, reserving the drippings in the bottom.
2. (This step is optional, but recommended if you want crispy golden skin.) Preheat broiler. Place the chicken and vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place directly under the broiler for several minutes until the skin is golden and crisp. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
3. Meanwhile, to make the gravy, heat 1-2 Tbsp. butter in a large saute pan over medium heat (the more butter and flour you use the faster your gravy will thicken- if your chicken released a lot of liquid go with 2 Tbsp). Once melted, stir in an equal amount of flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken juices/drippings (feel free to skim the fat off the surface of the drippings first, or if you have a fat separator go ahead and use it). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened (about 5-10 minutes). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with chicken and vegetables.
(Adapted from Baked Bree)