Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Dinner

I’ve had a whirlwind couple of weeks! Between having the pleasure of visiting Amanda in Tampa (and running a very humid half marathon together), road tripping to Iowa on another adventure and driving to and from the St. Louis airport a few times in the last few weeks I was beat. Plus, somehow while I was away, my oven heating coil suspiciously decided to snap–the maintenance men said “it happens” but I still have my doubts what happened :). So, when Amanda and I were brainstorming themes for this week’s skype date, we were all about that low effort deliciousness. I’ve written about the benefits of using the slow cooker in the summer, but really the slow cooker is great all year round for so many reasons. Between my strong desire to be lazy on the day or our date and the fact my oven was out of commission, this slow cooker meal was just what I needed.

I decided to do a whole chicken and vegetables for this meal, and while Amanda has done a traditionally cooked whole chicken dinner here before, I decided to mix up the spices a bit so that I could repurpose the leftovers into something delicious the following night. I even saved the bones so that I could make chicken stock, as Amanda demonstrated previously. The flavors are light and remind me of a warmer season, which makes this a nice choice for both the summer and winter. Plus, if you ever make this chicken for a dinner party, they’d never know how little prep and effort this really takes!

Ingredients: 

Spice Blend:

  • 1 tbsp za’atar seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt

Other Ingredients: 

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets and neck removed if applicable
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • vegetables of your choice to line the bottom of the slow cooker (I used 2 potatoes, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, and 1 zucchini)
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 2-3 stalks of thyme
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic (ish)

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the above spices listed (from za’atar to oregano) and the salt.
  2. Chop your vegetables into large chunks (since it will be cooking for a long time, you don’t want them to be so small they fall apart), and add them to the bottom of your slow cooker.
  3. Miz your softened butter with your blended spices to form a butter paste. Spread generously over your chicken and try to get some under the skin on the breasts and legs if possible.
  4. Stuff 1 quarter of your lemon (add the rest to your vegetable layer in your slow cooker),  at least 5 garlic cloves and a quarter to half of an onion (whatever you can fit) into the cavity of your chicken. If you have garlic leftover, sprinkle amongst your veggies.
  5. Place the chicken on top of your veggies, cover with your lid and cook on low for 8 hours. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F at the end of the time period, and return to the cooker for additional time if needed.
  6. Optional: If you would like crispy skin on your bird, move your chicken to a baking sheet and broil in the oven on normal setting for 2-5 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler (keep an eye on it! Mine goes from perfect to charred mess in about 2 seconds).
  7. Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker and carve, and enjoy with your cooked vegetables as well. You can shred any remaining chicken for a variety of recipes. This one fed me for a few more meals so stay tuned for how I repurposed my leftovers!

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Wine Pairing: Since this one is light with a hint of lemon, I think a perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio would be a nice light pairing to go with these yummy flavors. 

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