Finally a couple of days ago I caved and gave the fake-baked chicken a try. I learned a lot in one afternoon. I learned that with the right combination of seasonings and aromatics I could make an outstandingly flavorful, moist chicken in the slow cooker. I learned that the resulting broth may be the answer to finding world peace. I also learned that I was absolutely right about the non-crispy skin issue, but it could be solved by following this blogger’s ingenious idea for roasting a chicken in a slow cooker.
Here is a summary of my findings:
- A moist flavorful chicken can be produced in a slow cooker. If you don’t want the chicken to ‘fall off the bone’, it is important to only cook it until the internal temperature reaches 165-degree F. This only took about 3 hours on high in my slow cooker. I checked the temperature in the thickest part of the breast as well as in the thigh. If you plan on being away from home for a longer period, I would suggest cooking the chicken on low.
- If you are cooking the chicken to be used in casseroles, soups, tacos/enchiladas/tostados, chicken salad, etc, then it doesn’t have to be watched so carefully. Cook away. However, if you want to serve whole pieces of chicken and not have it fall off of the bone, then only cook the internal temperature to 165-degrees F.
- Think about for what the chicken will be used and season it accordingly.The seasonings, herbs, and aromatics can be varied, depending on the flavor profile needed in the finished product. Try some of these combinations: Italian–onions, garlic, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper; Thai–onions, garlic, lemons/limes, hot peppers, seasoning salt, smoked paprika; Mexican–onions, garlic, lemons/limes, jalapenos, seasoning salt, chipotle chile powder; Neutral, use for anything–onions, garlic, seasoning salt, thyme, maybe carrots and celery. As you can see, onions and garlic are essential.
- For ultimate flavor, be sure to stuff the cavity of the chicken with some of the herbs and aromatics and put the rest in the bottom of the slow cooker. Always season the cavity of the chicken as well as the outside of the chicken.
- There is no need to add any cooking liquids. The chicken and other ingredients will produce their own liquids which, in turn, can be used for gravy or added to soup or stock.
- The skin will not be crispy. If you wish to have a crispy skin, plan on putting the chicken in a hot oven for a few minutes to crisp up the skin. See this blogger’s suggestions. Although the chicken can be baked without the skin, I feel that the skin should be left intact on the chicken because it adds essential flavor and moisture.
Because I was experimenting with the chicken I roasted in the slow cooker, I didn’t have a clear plan for what I was going to do with it after it was cooked. Remember, I didn’t really trust what the end results would be. However, the end product was so flavorful that I thought of several things to make with it. I’ll share one of those ideas in my next post.
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