(The Nosher via JTA) — The crockpot has never been my favorite kitchen gadget. I know people love their crockpots and their instant pots, but there have been limited things I have made in a crockpot that I loved, or actually found more convenient. When I am dinner prepping for busy weeks, I typically don’t make long-simmering meals that require my attention but rather just throw a bunch of stuff in the oven.
But on a recent Friday that was going to be particularly harried — with baby swim class, errands and a doctor appointment — I decided to try my hand at throwing an entire chicken in a crockpot. I first read this guide from The Kitchn and watched its short video, which I found really helpful. Its tips included balling up some tin foil to raise the chicken up while cooking. You can also place the chicken under the broiler after cooking to crisp up the skin, but I didn’t find this to be a necessary step to success.
I seasoned the chicken well and just plopped the bird in the crockpot. Off to swim class, the doctor and the supermarket we went, to arrive home to the most wonderful smell, and a perfectly cooked chicken. I threw together a salad and some rice, and had dinner ready for Friday night. The most surprising part of this process was how much I loved the tenderness of the chicken cooked in the crockpot — it was moist, cooked perfectly and pretty much fell right off the bone.
I have spent countless hours reading up on the best way to make a roast chicken — tweaking my recipe bit by bit over the years. But this easier, no-fuss method actually might be new favorite. If you really want to be a superhero, add some cut-up veggies and potatoes to the bottom of the pan for a simple, fast one-pot wonder. My own trick is to save the liquid and fat that collects at the bottom of the crockpot and use it to make fantastically crispy, fatty roast potatoes in the oven.
You can also use whatever spice mixture you prefer, add slices of lemon or orange, cloves of garlic, fresh herbs or some beer to the bottom of the pan to season. But crockpot chicken is a fail-proof, fool-proof way to have delicious dinner ready for the busiest of days and the busiest of people. Or just if you’re too lazy to turn on the oven.