Two mornings ago I threw two cornish game hens (little chickens, basically) into our crock pot on low; last night we had the most incredibly tender chicken dinner you’ve ever eaten. Like I said, I’ve been on this “crock pot once a week” kick… So far I’ve had two hits and one very large miss (not the crock pot’s fault… too much yogurt… ugh…). I was running later than I had anticipated yesterday and my husband had eaten part of what I had planned to cook with the chicken, but I lined the bottom of the crock pot with onion, celery and garlic (I didn’t even bother to pop the skins on the garlic) and salted and peppered the chickens before placing them on top. I added a pat of butter to the top of the chicken because I read someplace that it would help crisp up the skin (it did, but I don’t think I’d use it again because I don’t think it’s necessary). I wanted to add carrots and lemon and parsnips (and will next time) on the top. I would have probably added a bay leaf if I’d thought of it.
But that’s it.
And I turned it on low and ran out the door and came home (10 1/2 hours later) to the most incredible smelling roast chicken I’d ever cooked. And everything – including the breast, which can dry out – was super tender. It literally fell apart; the bones even fell apart from one another (which looked a little gross in the chest cavity but was awfully cool for getting all the little bits of chicken meat!). The aromatics were mush, but the liquid they let out – coupled with the chicken’s juices – was just begging to be used. So after I took the chicken out of the pot, I added about 4 cups of water to it and set it on low for another few hours. Instant (okay, slow-cooked) chicken broth!
Of course I was too excited to take a photo (bad blogger!), but the chickens were not only delectable – they looked awesome too. If you’ve ever boiled/poached a chicken, you know that grey color the skin gets when it’s not roasted… The slow cooker amazingly produced a fabulous carmely-brown skin (perhaps because of the butter?). It looked so pretty.
I think this will work just fine with a full-sized chicken (just make sure it fits your slow-cooker!). And it’s DEFINITELY worth trying. I have never had a chicken this tender!