Last year I bought a slow cooker which is so much more than a slow cooker as it also functions as a pressure cooker, rice cooker plus it has a browning function. I love it but I packed it away over Summer and just pulled it out again about a month ago. I rely on it for those nights when we get in late and kids are cold and hungry. I have decided I need to make a bit of an effort to share more recipes for the slow cooker, starting with this one for a wholesome chicken dinner to feed a family.
The recipe has evolved over time with a mix of recipes. Nigella Lawson has a beautiful recipe called My Mothers Praised Chicken. ‘Praised’ because it is kind of braised and kind of poached. My Slow Cooked Winter Chicken is sort of based on that recipe however I have skipped a few steps and tweaked it here and there. The main tweak was to remove all the skin and some of the fat from the chicken before placing in the slow cooker which results in a lighter broth. I know fat is flavour but when it comes to braising a whole chicken I don’t enjoy the thick slick of fat that sits on top of the broth. Removing all the skin makes the world of difference.
There have been a couple of nights when I haven’t prepared earlier and I need to whip up some dinner fast and that is when this dish can be transformed into Fast Cooked Winter Chicken. Just follow the recipe but pressure cook everything for 30 minutes. It works a treat.
When it is cooked I remove the chicken and shred the meat, remove the vegetables and strain the remaining broth. This broth can be reheated and extra veges can be blanched in it like spinach or green beans. To serve, place some brown rice in a bowl, top with shredded chicken and vegetables then pour over some of the delicious broth. I mostly just serve with some chopped parsley but take Nigella’s suggestion and add some sprigs of dill and a dollop of English mustard. Winner winner chicken dinner.
slow cooked winter chicken
1 large whole chicken
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 leeks or a bunch of baby leeks, cleaned and cut into 7cm logs or thereabouts
3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
a bunch of parsley, leaves removed and set aside for serving
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
brown rice (is ideal but my kids won’t have a bar of it so I put on some long grain white rice too)
parsley leaves, roughly chopped
fresh dill, roughly chopped
Remove the skin from the chicken by putting your fingers under the skin on the breast and slowly working it off. The wings are too fiddly so I just leave them on. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and add remaining ingredients including the parsley stalks. The parsley stalks can be tied in a bundle with kitchen string as they are to be removed at the end of the cooking.
Put the slow cooker on high and cook for 4 hours. Or if in a hurry, cook in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Follow the instructions for your appliance and once cooked remove the chicken onto a platter. Shred the meat off the bone and set aside. Retrieve the carrots and leeks and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the parsley stalks, and skim off any extra fat off the top and season to taste if needed.
To serve, place some rice in each bowl, top with the shredded chicken, some veges and pour over some broth. Let everyone help themselves to chopped parsley, dill and English mustard.