Lisa Leake’s Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe from the
100 Days of Real Food Cookbook
As my regular readers know, I strive to cook natural, nutritious foods for my family. The vast majority of my recipes are “from scratch” with ingredients my great grandmother would recognize (not sure if she was familiar with Middle Eastern za’atar, but that’s a subject for another blog…). I’m blessed that I am able to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, but not everybody has that luxury. For the average American family cutting out processed foods can be quite difficult, especially with the time restraints of a 40-hour work week, school and extra curricular commitments, etc. My friend Lisa Leake, the powerhouse blogger behind the site 100 Days of Real Food, challenged herself to live unprocessed for… you guessed it… 100 days! Her new cookbook,100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love, is the result of her journey. The book is perfect for anyone hoping to leave processed foods behind. Between tips on how to get your family involved, how to shop at farmer’s markets, meal plans, and how to determine what unprocessed really means, Lisa covers it all.
I enjoyed Lisa’s book and learned a lot from it. I especially love her tips for eating out, how to avoid ordering unhealthy foods when dining out, travel snacks, etc. Her simple recipe for cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker was a revelation. My family loves chicken and slow cooker recipes are always welcome– I love the ease of “set it and forget it.” This recipe is almost completely hands off. Just spice rub the chicken, place it over a bed of onions in the slow cooker, and by the time dinner rolls around your main course is already taken care of. I changed things up from the original recipe ever so slightly, adding some smoked paprika and stuffing the chicken with garlic cloves, lemon wedges and some fresh rosemary I had on hand. I also added a couple of bay leaves to the slow cooker. It’s a really flexible method, you can add fresh herbs and your favorite spices to enhance the flavor of the chicken. The key is not adding liquid to the cooker– as the chicken cooks the fat renders, creating its own cooking liquid. I served this chicken with my Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes for a truly warm and comforting meal, perfect for serving on a cold fall night. This cooking method is definitely going into our regular rotation. Enjoy!
And don’t forget to check out the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook. It makes a terrific holiday gift for families who want to start the path to an unprocessed life.
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Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 whole onion peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 lemon wedges
- 4 cloves garlic
- l large whole chicken about 4 pounds
In a small bowl, combine the paprika, smoked paprika, salt, onion powder, dried thyme, garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper. Set aside.
Place the onion pieces in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Remove any giblets from the chicken and stuff it with rosemary, garlic and lemon wedges (or whatever herbs and aromatics you like).
Rub the outside of the chicken with the spice mixture. If you like you can also rub some of the spices on the inside of the cavity and beneath the skin covering the breasts.
Place the spice rubbed chicken, breast side down, on top of the onion pieces and cover the slow cooker. You won't need to add any extra liquid.
Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours, or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
Remove from the slow cooker and serve.