They say you can choose two out of three things in many life situations: quality, speed, and affordability. For example, the auto shop may promise to have your brakes fixed by tomorrow following strict quality measures, but then they charge an arm and a leg. The contractor who promises a floor installed with quality and affordability cannot complete the project on time.
I proudly wish to present a recipe which breaks this two out of three rule: Crockpot Roasted Chicken! Every Sunday, I prepare a whole, organic chicken in my slow cooker. I end up with moist and tender meat, about 2 quarts of nutrient-rich broth, and fresh organ meats to use throughout the week. And all for only $12 and less than 10 minutes of hands-on time.
Whole Chicken + Broth in a Slow Cooker
1. Get a whole organic chicken. It must be certified organic–no exceptions (“natural” and “free-range” do not mean organic). Non-organic chicken bones contain to much toxins to make broth. I buy my organic chicken at Trader Joe’s, and it costs about $12.
2. Remove the little bag containing the neck and organs from inside the body cavity, and set aside. Rinse the chicken and place it into your slow cooker. Cook the chicken in the crockpot on Low for about 4 1/2 hours. Flip the chicken over occasionally, so the meat self-bastes in the pool of fat which will form at the bottom of the slow cooker. Try not to pierce the skin–it will bubble with liquid, which traps moisture in the meat.
3. Place the organs in plastic zip-top baggies, label with a date, and freeze. When you are making meatloaf, hamburgers, or meat sauce, pureé the selected organ in a food processor and add it to the raw ground beef. No one will be the wiser–just keep your kids (and spouse) out of the kitchen when you stealthily stir the ground organ meat into the meal. Keep the neck in the fridge to add to the broth.
4. Make sure the chicken reaches 160 degrees. Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes to let the juices settle. Then, pick the meat and skin off the chicken. The skin will be soggy and not pleasant to eat. You now have a full plate of moist chicken to add to casseroles, sandwiches, egg dishes, and more!
Make Crockpot Chicken Broth
- I prefer discarding the skin from the carcass to avoid a greasy broth. Place the chicken carcass, loose bones, and the neck into the slow cooker with the leftover juices and fat.
- Cover with filtered water and a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps to leach important minerals from the bones. Cook on low heat for at least 24 hours, adding water as necessary. I cook my broth from Sunday night to Wednesday afternoon, ladling out hot broth to on Monday and Tuesday. I just add more water as I take out broth. Strain broth, pressing juice from the bones. Refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze for a few months.