February 21, 2012

Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken (started in the crock pot)

I'm going to apologize up front for the hastiness of this post. Today is the third day having my father and father-in-law visiting us from out of state and although I've been cooking in a whirlwind, I have not had time to post (nor did I take photos of the meals - I'm not sure how I'd explain my camera snapping of our food to them...) 

The first night here I took the easy route and we grilled cheeseburgers and I made a simple Italian Pasta Salad.   The second evening was a real Seafood Feast.  It was so good!  Steamed Crab Legs, amazing Crab Cakes, Butterfly Shrimp...   and last night the only requirement was that the meal included my FIL's request;  Potatoes.  Any form.  But he really loves potatoes.  So made a Roasted Chicken and served with it Rosemary Thyme Potatoes, cheesy breadsticks, a fruit salad and I made some of the pan drippings into a simple gravy.   It was a huge hit.

This is not the actual chicken I made last night as I made up a hickory infused seasoning for the chicken but I had these photos from a previous meal I made the family which used the same cooking process to ensure an incredibly tender and flavorful chicken.  Every time.

Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken
(started in the crock pot - finished in the oven)
1 whole chicken - rinsed well
1 lemon
1 onion
fresh minced garlic
lemon pepper seasoning
olive oil

Slice the lemon and onion in half and insert them into the poultry.  Place the chicken in a crock pot or slow cooker.  Season the top with your spices.  If you like bland chicken, go easy.  If you like flavor infused, then go a little heavier.  There is no 'right' or 'wrong'.  Play with it.   Cook your chicken in the crock pot as long as you need to.  By this I mean - if you are starting this at 8:am and won't need to serve it until 6:pm, then cook it on low for 10 hours.  If you are starting it at 3:30 pm and need it by dinner, put it on high at 3 hours.  The idea is that the chicken is going to do most of it's cooking in the crock pot. 

Later you will have a lot of juice in the crock pot and your chicken is going to be almost ready to fall apart.  But because it's in the crock pot, it's not going to be a pretty golden brown, and it's not going to be crisp or ready to serve.  Carefully drain off the liquid (I use the lid, crack it open about 1 inch and carefully pour the liquid into a casserole dish or other dish, leaving the chicken in the pot.) 

Transferring the chicken to a baking sheet or serving dish.  The chicken is so tender at this point you have to handle it with kid gloves or it will fall apart.  After trial and error, the easiest way I've found to transfer the chicken to a baking pan is to lay the baking pan over the crockpot (which now has no liquid left in it and is unplugged)  and flip it quickly upside down so the chicken is now upside down on the baking sheet.  Carefully use a large spatula to quickly turn the chicken over.   If your chicken is quite that tender and can still hold its shape, you can use two large metal spatulas to lift and quickly transfer it to a baking sheet or pan for oven use.

Now, either bake the chicken quickly at about 450 degrees to brown it or you can place it under a broiler in the oven for about 4 minutes.   When the top is a beautiful brown and the skin has crisped up nicely, it's time to serve.

An onion and a lemon provide the flavor

Cook it and forget it.  Leave it to cook... ignore it for a few hours.

It's tender and flavorful but not pretty.  So this is where you roast it or broil it to finish.

When I need about 15 minutes before serving I'll bake it.  If I'm ready for it now, I'll broil it for 4 minutes.
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