Every week, I make my crockpot version of a rotisserie-style chicken. While delicious and juicy all on its own, my favorite thing about cooking a whole chicken each week is that I have the already cooked chicken on hand ready and waiting to use for 2-4 meals. I know that all households are different – a whole chicken might not stretch as far for your family if you are bigger eaters or have lots of mouths to feed… or it might go a whole lot farther if you are single or empty-nesters.
I strongly to encourage you to buy the healthiest chicken you can afford. For some of you that may be the organic roasters that cost $18-$20, for others, an ordinary fryer that costs $3-5. Although I wish I could afford to splurge on a local, organic chicken…. right now that’s not where I want to spend my money each week. And I have been very happy with the Harvestland brand (carried at my local BJs and Walmart stores). It’s antibiotic-free, raised cage-free, fed an all vegetarian diet with no hormones or steroids. I buy a pack of two whole chickens each week for about $15.
I prefer to season the chicken lightly – with just salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley, plus paprika for color. That way, the flavor of the meat is enhanced, but you aren’t limiting the ways the chicken could be used in future meals (Mexican, Italian, Asian etc.).One rotisserie -style chicken usually yields about 3-4 cups of meat. I use the pulled chicken to make everything from salads, soups and sandwiches to pastas, pizza and casseroles to quesadillas tacos, and burritos. I could go on, but I think you get the idea 😉
- 1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder or garlic herb blend
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Remove chicken from its packaging and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Discard anything inside the chicken cavity (the giblets - sometimes in a bag sometimes not).
- Combine the salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, and paprika in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken. You are welcome to pull the skin away from the bird and season in between the layers of the bird but it's not necessary.
- Place the breast-side up in the crockpot. Sprinkle any remaining seasoning on the top of the chicken and add a final sprinkle of paprika, for color.
- Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours. To check for doneness, use a small knife to cut the skin between the breast and the drumstick. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Or if you have a meat thermometer - the temperature is 165 degrees. Let the chicken cool a bit before carving.
- Start by placing the chicken, breast side up, on the cutting board. Remove the skin. Gently pull each leg away the breast (where you checked for doneness) and cut where it joins the bird. It should be easy to cut through. Separate the thighs and the drumsticks by cutting through the joint. Then hold the wing and gently pull it away from the body then cut between the wing and the breast. Remove the breast from each side of the bird.
- Carefully pull the meat from the bones. You can leave the chicken breasts in one piece to shred or slice when you are ready to use.
- Store the cooked chicken in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
- Add the chicken bones, skin, and carcass back to the crockpot with all of the cooking liquid.
- Fill the crockpot about 2 inch from the top with water.
- Sprinkle in a 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbs (parsley, thyme, garlic), 2 tablespoons of salt, tablespoon of pepper and 2 bay leaves.
- Add in a large onion cut in quarters, 2-3 roughly chopped (unpeeled is fine) carrots and 2-3 stalks of celery cut in half.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- Allow it to cool, then strain, and ladle into glass jars or other resealable containers. Make sure to fill about 3/4 of the way full so you have room for expansion in the freezer.
- Lasts for a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.