Recently, when I've stopped for a rotisserie-cooked chicken at various grocery stores, I have been struck by how much they have shrunk. The last one was about the size of a pigeon.|
I could cook a much larger, whole chicken myself for the same price, but who has the time? Roasting a chicken takes at least an hour and a half. When I get home from work, I aim for dinner on the table in 20 minutes.
I stumbled on a recipe at food.com for cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker. Tried it, adapted it, loved it.
Basically, you mix salt and spices, rub it on the chicken and let it sit for a while. Cover bottom of slow cooker with sliced onions, then put the chicken on top and cook. That's it. Ridiculously easy, yet it creates moist, tender, flavorful meat.
Best of all, it is the start to an economical meal. A 5-pound chicken yields dinner for four, plus leftovers to make another meal as soup, stew or pot pie. Because the recipe creates a luscious gravy, I combined it with a baked potato and vegetable for a meal that totals less than $1 per serving.
Slow-Cooker Roast Chicken
3 tablespoons spice blend*
1 (5-pound) chicken
Remove packet from inside chicken, rinse. Rub spices over skin. Pull up skin over breast a bit and rub spices under it. Let sit, refrigerated, for one to 12 hours.
Slice onion and cover bottom of slow cooker. Set chicken on top; cook on low for five to seven hours, depending on how hot your slow cooker gets and how many times you lift the lid. Do not add water.
I turned the chicken breast-side-down halfway through the cooking time to ensure it didn't get dry, but don't do this if you want a crisp skin. Use thermometer to determine if chicken is done.
If desired, add a slurry of flour and water to the juices and onion, and bring to boil, stirring, to create gravy. Variations: Add carrots to the onions on the bottom of slow cooker, or tuck half a lemon inside chicken.
* Spice blend: This recipe makes enough for three chickens. Measure out what you need and store the rest in a container with a tight lid.
Blend 3 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground rosemary. You can adapt this to fit your own tastes.
- 5-pound chicken, 85 cents per pound, $4.25, yields 8 servings (4 dinner, 4 soup) -- 53 cents per serving.
- 10 pounds potatoes, $3.95 -- 13 cents per potato.
- Fresh broccoli, $1.50 bunch -- 6 servings, 25 cents per serving.
- Spices, 5 cents per serving.
Total cost for dinner: 96 cents per serving.
Rock island, IL Details
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