Friday, December 12, 2014

No-Fail Slow-Cooker Roasted Chicken

One of my best kitchen tricks when life gets hectic around the holidays - or when the kitchen is the last place I want to be - is slow-cooker roasted chicken. The slow cooker makes it a hands-off recipe, and the use of whole chicken is an inexpensive way to yield a large quantity of moist, delicious chicken, almost everyone's favorite protein.

The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, however, takes my favorite kitchen hack to a new level of ease with its temperature probe. Instead of forcing me to use my sloppy mental calculations of time-per-pound and check the temperature by hand, the probe simply shuts off the whole cooker when the meat reaches the desired temperature, so the chicken is perfectly moist. Everything with even less effort than before.

One your chicken is fully roasted, you can serve the bird along with picnic sides, like macaroni salad, coleslaw and biscuits. However - here's the second part of this awesome trick - one whole chicken roasted in the slow cooker will usually create two complete dinners for my small family. I've collected a list of recipes that use this precooked chicken meat as the base protein for several tasty meals like:

Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
Chicken and Black Bean Taquitos
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken Caesar Salad
Chicken Fried Rice

Plus, once you learn the technique for slow-cooker chicken, you can mix up the preparation. Add new potatoes to the bottom of the cooker. Use lemon zest and/or lemon pepper in the stuffing, or try glazing the skin in teriyaki or hot sauce.

No-Fail Slow-Cooker Roasted Chicken
by Kate

1 whole chicken (4-6 pounds), giblets removed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, skinned and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, or your favorite leafy spice mixture
Special equipment: Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker and kitchen twine

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle interior cavity with salt and pepper, then fill with onion, garlic and bay leaves.

Truss the chicken with kitchen twine - making sure the wings will stay close to the body and the interior cavity sealed - and sprinkle the breast side of the bird with 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken breast-side down in your Set & Forget Slow Cooker. Sprinkle the back side of the bird with 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper.

Secure the lid on your slow cooker and insert the thermometer probe into the chicken, making sure the probe lies deep in the meat rather than near bone or in the interior cavity. Plug the thermometer probe in its designated jack on the side of the cooker.

To program the slow cooker, press the ON button and then press PROBE. The "Heat Setting" light should be illuminated. Choose whether you'd like to cook use the high or low setting. Press ENTER.

Now the "Desired Temp" light will be illuminated. Use the arrows to select a temperature of 170° (which is safe for poultry, though you can select as high as 180°.) Press ENTER. The machine will read COOK and sound a 3-second beep to signal it's beginning the cook cycle.

While the chicken is cooking, the cooker's display will alternate between the actual temperature and the goal temperature. A whole bird will cook on high in about 3 1/2 - 4 hours and on low in about 6 hours.

Note: The slow cooker will beep when the cycle is complete and without user interruption, will switch to warm mode until you're ready to serve.

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