Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Product Testing: Crock-Pot Roasted Chicken
I was offered to test Crock-Pot, the original slow cooker that has been around since 1971. Last summer I considered donating my tiny crockpot until it proved its worth. It is so small, I can not do a lot of the fancier cooking other people can do with their slow cooker. So... I said yes! Yes, I will test it.
At first I panicked. Holy crap! It is big! Six quartz and the size of my breadmaker. Hmm... That's really big. But then, I thought... In a way it is another oven. I could slow cook meats during the day, something I never would have considered because, let's be serious. I would be more likely baking cookies. This way I can do both!
There is one slight issue though. The slow cooker has a nick in the front on the ceramic insert. Other than that, it was in perfect condition.
I bought a fryer chicken for product testing phase 1.
I decided to follow one of the recipes that came with the Crock-Pot for Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken. I put together the spice rub: 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp dried thyme and 1/3 tsp paprika.
I stuffed the chicken with 1/2 cup chopped onion. As awkward as this photo is to look at, I promise you, it was more awkward to take.
I slathered the chicken in softened butter and put it in the slow cooker. So weird not to tress it, just leave it there. Then I squeezed the juice of one lemon on top.
I sprinkled it with the spice rub and topped it with 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped.
This part is way more high tech than my other slow cooker. I choose the eight hour timer on low. I did this early in the morning, totally bleary-eyed.
Eight and a half hours later, it was on the warm setting, just waiting for me. Nice! My old slow cooker has a high or low setting. That's it!
I was shocked, the chicken looked gorgeous!
I removed the liquid and put them in a gravy separator.
I fried up some mushrooms, shallots, garlic... Added some poultry seasoning, sprinkled with some flour and then added the juices to make a gravy. Perhaps one of the best gravies I have ever had.
I managed to get most of the chicken out of the crockpot intact. The wings did fall off though and the legs really wanted to.
This was one of the best chicken dinners I have ever had. Reg said it felt like Thanksgiving! The chicken was moist, tender and stunning. I am absolutely impressed!
Would I make this chicken exactly the same next time?! No.
I really do not like having my meat stew in its own juices like that so next time I would put some carrots and celery stalks on the bottom which will also help flavour the gravy.
I would season the entire chicken next time, including inside the bird, not just sprinkle the top.
Other than that? I have to say, it's perfect! I love not having to jam a teeny tiny little chicken or cut it up to make it fit in my tiny crockpot. Walking into my kitchen with my roast chicken on warm mode at dinner time with all the work done in the morning (which will always feel weird to me) was pretty amazing, I have to admit.
Looking forward to product testing phase 2 now! I am finally going to make pulled pork! Never made it before so if you have some tips and tricks, I would love to hear them.