This is a classic “dump it and forget it” dish: just rub the chicken with seasoning, add some lemon juice and chicken broth, and set the timer. The result is the most tender chicken you’ve ever tasted with just the right amount of lemon-garlic flavor in every bite. The texture and tenderness of this chicken is unbeatable. After basting for hours at low heat, the meat is literally falling off the bone. It is juicy, aromatic, and deeply flavored with lemon, garlic, thyme, and a bit of rosemary.
Serves: 2 to 4 with leftovers
4 to 5 pound chicken
For the seasoning rub:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and minced
For the cooking liquid:
2 lemons, quartered
1 head garlic, cloves separated, but left in their skins
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 teaspoon bouillon paste, divided (optional for richer flavor)
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
For the gravy:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Remove the bag of gizzards and discard (or reserve for stock). Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
2. Mix all the seasoning ingredients together in a bowl. Gently work your fingers under the skin covering the breast meat and slide them back and forth to separate the skin from the meat without tearing it. Scoop up a dollop of the seasoning and work it under the skin covering both breasts. Rub any remaining seasoning over the drumsticks and thighs. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker, breast-side up.
3. Squeeze and reserve the juice from one of the lemons. Stuff the rinds into the cavity of the chicken along with one whole bouillon cube and a few garlic cloves. Crumble the other bouillon cube over the chicken and rub it into the skin. Arrange the remaining lemon quarters, the rest of garlic cloves, and the thyme around the chicken. Combine the reserved lemon juice, the soy sauce, and the broth, and pour it over the chicken.
4. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 4 or for 6 hours (according to your slow-cooker’s instructions and particular settings). Thirty minutes or so before the time is done, add the rosemary sprigs.
5. Remove chicken from the slow-cooker and allow it to rest on a baking sheet, tented with foil, for about 20 minutes. The wings and drumsticks may fall away as you lift the chicken; this is normal.
6. While the chicken is resting, strain the cooking liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a rapid simmer. Scoop out a half cup of the liquid and whisk it with the flour in a separate bowl. Slowly pour the flour slurry back into the cooking liquid while whisking. Continue simmering and whisking until the gravy thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
7. When ready to serve, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Use your fingers to pull the meat away off the bones; it should come away easily with gentle pressure or use a knife as needed. Serve the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks right away and tear the remaining meat into shreds for using in leftovers. Serve with the gravy alongside.
• Cooking times longer than 6 hours are not recommended. With longer cooking, the chicken bones start to become too soft, making it difficult to separate the meat and get a good gravy.
• Rosemary tends to get bitter if cooked for too long. Adding it in the last half hour of cooking helps give the dish rosemary flavor without the bitterness.
• The garlic cloves cooked with the chicken make an excellent spread. Pop them out of their skins, mash with a bit of salt, and serve with slices of crusty bread.
Recipe & Photo from: thekitchn.com