How many of you find yourself lamenting your lack of time to do anything let alone cooking a delicious meal set with leftovers to last you a week? Of course, many of you wise home cooks out there scoff and say, well that’s what your slow cooker is for – a prepare, set, and come home to a delicious meal with very minimal effort on your part tool and…you’re right! The slow cooker is an amazing tool for the busy working person who still wants to feed themselves and their family a good home cooked meal. A couple Christmases ago, my husband bought me this amazing All-Clad slow cooker from Williams-Sonoma. It was my first All-Clad product and it was also replacing a very well used slow-cooker that decided to die on me a couple months previously.
This this is amazing. Besides the feature of the cast aluminum insert which easily goes from stove-top to slow cooker, allowing you to sauté your aromatics or brown your meat all in one dish (easy clean-up, another must for the busy home cook), this thing boasts one of the most customizable digital timers I’ve seen on a slow cooker – you can set it to cook at high for a certain amount of time and switch to low, and as soon as the time is up no matter how you time it, it will automatically switch to the “warm” setting until serving time. This truly is the busy person’s dream – as someone who often plans for an 8 hour work day but finds themselves working 10 instead, this provides a little more flexibility and security that things won’t go horribly wrong if you can’t come home to turn this thing off. As I said before, this was my introduction to the beauty of the All-Clad product – it’s looks aren’t just stainless-steel exterior deep, All-Clad’s products pack a lot of value in that shiny surface and the slow cooker is no exception. Since buying this, I now own several other pieces from All-Clad. The brand is truly worth the investment.
But, gushing about tools aside, we pretty much all know that our slow-cookers are one of the most valuable tools in our kitchens so let me tell you something you might not know…you can also do a fantastic roast whole chicken in your slow-cooker in only 5 hours on low or 8 on high. The end result will be a beautifully moist chicken that will appear to anyone as if you labored hours in the kitchen roasting and browning this bird. But you don’t have to let them know that it only took you 10 minutes of prep and a 8 minute pop under the broiler to crisp up the skin, because what they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dijon mustard
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large whole chicken
1. Combine dried spices into a small bowl or container (I used a ramekin)
2. Slice onion roughly into about 1/4 inch slices (it’s not important that they’re perfect here), place in bottom of slow cooker.
3. Prepare chicken – rinse, remove any remaining feather bits, set aside giblets (we will use these later for a homemade chicken stock), and pat dry. Rub a good quality dijon mustard all over the chicken skin and under the skin covering the breasts. I like grey poupon brand dijon. Then, rub your spice mixture all over the skin, under the skin covering the breasts, and in the cavity. I like to put a few springs of fresh thyme into the cavity, but this can be omitted.
4. Place chicken in slow-cooker on top of onion slices, breast-side down. Do not add any liquid – the chicken will produce plenty on its own.
5. Set timer to desired length of time, either 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
6. When chicken is falling off the bone, go ahead and take it out. Remove the thigh, drum, wing, and drumette pieces and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil on low in your oven until the skin is browned and crispy. I use the leftover liquid in the slow cooker to make a delicious homemade chicken stock – just add any bones from the carcass of the bird, the giblets, and two cups of water and simmer in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. Strain and let cool – freeze in an ice cube tray for convenient chicken stock cubes!
So, there you have it. I’m still learning all the possibilities for my slow cooker. Please share any of your favorite weekday meals using this kitchen essential.