If you never cooked a Whole Chicken before, now is a great time to test it out.  Throughout the winter months, the pricing on whole chickens is always really low.  I find it at least $3/lb less expensive than buying boneless chicken breast, plus you get the benefit of also making your own broth.

This recipe is hearty, easy and makes the best batch of chicken stock without even trying. If you still have a little energy leftover, you can use the chicken scraps (skin, bones and neck) to make a second stock.

I have made this recipe in both the slow cooker and my pressure cooker.  The pressure cooker is clearly faster, but sometimes it’s easier to just let the chicken cook all day.  I did this a lot when I was working full time.  I have found that the meat doesn’t fall apart quite as much when cooking in the pressure cooker so I tend to prefer this cooking method as of late.  See my review of the electric Cuisinart Pressure Cooker here.

1 Whole Chicken~ (3 1/2- 4 pounds is best,  I’ve done 5 lb. fine in the slow cooker, it’s a little large for the pressure cooker.)
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 cans of chicken broth~ or 14 /12 ounces
2 large onions diced
4 medium carrots peeled and diced
1 (28 oz) can of Whole Tomatoes (do not drain)
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Dried Rosemary or Thyme
2 Sweet Potatoes~ peeled and chopped into one inch pieces (optional)

1. Brown Chicken in Olive Oil on a stove-top pan, or on the Browning setting on your pressure cooker or slow cooker.  Set chicken in separate cooker, or on a plate while making step 2.
2. Saute carrots and onion in remaining olive oil.
3. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup white wine.  Use wooden spoon to scrap up any bits left on the pan.  Add 1 can of chicken broth to pan.
4.  Add all ingredients to cooker.  Add water to cover the chicken.  Make sure you do not go over the fill line.  (ask me about the yucky white spray I ended up with on my cabinets!)
5. Cook on Low for 8 hours in slow cooker, cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes for Pressure Cooker. Use natural pressure release if using pressure cooker.
6. Optional~add the sweet potatoes to the slow cooker at the beginning of the cooking cycle.  If you are using a pressure cooker and want to include the potatoes, set the timer for 20 minutes. Use the Quick Release method and add the potatoes in.  Then reset to High Pressure for 5 minutes. Use natural pressure release.

Serve with a little pasta and Parmesan cheese on top.

I strained the excess liquid and use it as cooking liquid for rice and beans during the week.  Even boil in a bag rice gets some extra nutrients when you cook it in chicken stock.  The stock made with the whole chicken gives you the best results, I even got it to gel for the first time.  I think the acidity of the tomatoes helped draw more of the healthy minerals out of the chicken.

Read Part 2~ How to make your own Chicken Stock in the Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker.

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