Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Paleo Recipe: Minimalist (aka Easiest) Slow Cooker Chicken

I’ve been drawn to making dishes with a minimalist mentality. I’m buying the highest quality ingredients I can find and letting them speak for themselves in my recipes, while also using as few ingredients as possible. I’m doing this for a few reasons… for starters it’s easy and less demanding of my time. It’s also less expensive because I am not incorporating as many ingredients. And, in many cases, it’s healthier.

Enter: Minimalist (aka Easiest) Slow Cooker Chicken.

Minimalist (a.k.a. Easiest) Slow Cooker Chicken

Minimalist (aka Easiest) Slow Cooker Chicken

This paleo recipe took me literally minutes to put together. The slow cooker did all the work cooking all day, while I sat back and enjoyed the smells wafting through my house.

Before we get into the ingredients I used in the recipe, I must give props to the slow cooker. I’ve briefly mentioned in past posts about my adoration of the thing, and this time is no exception. Every kitchen needs a slow cooker, if not two or three of varying sizes. I use mine all the time to make healing broths, paleo stews, nourishing soups, veggie dishes, wild caught fish, you name it. The slow cooker featured in this blog post was the perfect size for this recipe, a 7-quart slow cooker. Here is the one I bought. I’m especially enamored by it because of the different options for temperature (low, medium, high plus a couple others) and cooking times. It’s higher tech than most and very user friendly.

Minimalist (aka Easiest) Slow Cooker Chicken (Paleo Recipe)

yield 2 to 4 servings, depending on size of chicken

  • 1 pastured organic whole chicken (usually 2-4 pounds)*
  • 4 cups homemade pastured chicken broth (or water, but broth takes it to another level)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of additional seasoning of choice, I used organic Italian Seasoning

Put the broth, veggies, and apple cider vinegar in a slow cooker.

Take the chicken and sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sea salt all over it.

Taking a moment to give thanks to bird for feeding my family, then sprinkling it with salt.

Taking a moment to give thanks to the bird for feeding my family, then sprinkling it with salt.

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt around the vegetables. Add the bay leaf.

If desired, sprinkle the additional (Italian) seasoning (or seasoning of choice) around the veggies and on the top of the chicken.

Ready to cook.

Ready to cook.

If you have all day for your chicken to cook, go ahead and set it to a low temp for cooking, say about 6-8 hours (make sure it reaches proper chicken cooking temperature – I use this fantastic instant read Thermapen thermometer). If you’re in a rush and need it done in 4-6 hours, you might opt to cook it on high.

Two to three times during the cooking process, I like to take the lid off the slow cooker and baste the chicken (here’s my favorite baster, it’s Norpro’s glass baster) to keep it extra moist and tender. Ordinarily, it’s a no-no to take the lid off a slow cooker because I’ve read that each time you do, it loses enough heat to require an additional cooking of 20 minutes. That didn’t really matter to me because I knew it’d be cooking long enough i.e., most of the day.

*A pastured bird almost always means a smaller bird than many would recognize. These birds aren’t fed a bunch of hormones or crappy foods so they naturally don’t grow to be very big. I buy mine online from Good Earth Farms because it’s one of the only places I’ve found Pastured, Organic, and Soy-free chicken. I buy many at a time, enough for about 1 every 7-10 days for 6 months and I store them in our big standalone freezer.

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