Who knew you could throw a question up on your Facebook page about what to cook in a crock pot and wind up with enough inspiration to last a month of dinners.

And who knew talented cookbook writer Tara Matazara Desmond would be tuning in at just the right moment and offer up a real keeper of a recipe for slow cooker chicken.

And who knew I’d make the time to test out her recipe and find it works just as she said it would.

Indeed, who knew you could plop a whole chicken in a slow cooker with very little else besides and end up with some seriously tasty, tender bird.

And so, here you have it: “Who Knew” Crock Pot Chicken.

While crock pot cooking doesn’t result in the crispy skin that comes from oven roasting, it does make the chicken darn delicious on the inside. Plus, you can make double duty of this dish:  As soon as the chicken is cooked, pull it from the pot and let it rest until cool enough to handle. Then, discard the skin (which has the upside of also removing much of the fat), strip the meat from the bones, and store it in a container in the fridge until ready to use.

Then, you can pop those bones back into the slow cooker and brew them into a tasty chicken stock (instructions for making broth are featured below the recipe).

I used the chicken meat for taco salad one night and chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day. The broth is stowed away in the freezer waiting for my next pot of soup.

Who knew home cooking could be so easy.

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Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken , 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots , cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery , cut in half
  • 1 medium onion , peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Do this a day ahead and store in the refrigerator, if possible.
  2. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with paprika, if desired. Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, tucking them around the chicken. Add the bay leaf and the water. Put on the lid and turn the pot to low. Cook until the chicken is done. You can check for doneness by inserting a little knife where the leg attaches to the body of the chicken to see that the meat is no longer pink. This will take 4 to 4 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it on a carving board. Carve the bird into pieces.

Recipe Notes

To make chicken broth, once the chicken is cooked, pull the meat off the bones. Store the meat in the fridge until ready to use. Put the bones back into the crock pot. Add two more whole carrots, 2 whole stalks celery, half an onion, and another bay leaf. Add 5 more cups of water, turn the pot to low and cook an additional 4 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.