It has been a little while since I last blogged - there's a lot going on in the house at the moment. But that doesn't mean I haven't been using the slow cooker! I bought another book on my kindle - Slow Cooking Properly Explained, by Dianne Page. This gives me another set of recipes to drool over.
For Sunday dinner, almost two weeks ago, we decided to cook chicken again. Following the success of the Fall Off the Bone Whole Slow-Cooked Chicken, I contemplated making it again. But, in my quest to try as many new recipes as possible, I went instead for this Slow Cooked Chicken with Tarragon, from Page's book.
Since I had the whole day to look after this, I went with the recommendation to use the high setting on the crock pot. Interestingly, Dianne Page suggests that "whole birds are best cooked on HIGH only - to ensure thorough cooking". This makes sense, I guess, though isn't always practical. Anyway, it meant that I only started preparing this in the early afternoon, for dinner at 6pm.
I started by heating about a tbsp olive oil and a tiny knob of butter in a pan and then browning the whole chicken all over. I did notice, when I last cooked a whole chicken in the pot, that the skin was very pale and unappetising, though the chicken was delicious. This first step did definitely improve the appearance of the chicken, without necessarily adding any fat to the result.
The whole chicken was put into the crock pot and seasoned with some salt and pepper. I then added the juice and rind of a lemon and a generous tsp of dried tarragon. The recipe just called for the juice of half a lemon, but my chicken was bigger and I thought it would add more flavour.
Then the chicken cooked on high for 4 hours. An hour before the end of cooking time I prepared some roast potatoes and roast vegetables.
The reciped suggests making a gravy by mixing 1tbsp cornflour into the strained juices from the pot, but I just dribbled the juices over the chicken when serving - gravy wasn't necessary.
Yummy! This was really delicious, tender chicken. As you can see in the picture, it did fall apart when taken out of the pot, and carving was easy (or not necessary). The flavour of the lemon and tarragon was pleasant and not overpowering. The meat was tasty and not at all dry.
There was plenty for 5 of us, with almost a whole breast left over for sandwiches during the week.
Both children devoured their dinner, polishing off a leg each, with Mr Teenager going back for more. Their only complaint was a lack of crispy chicken skin.
On balance, I think I preferred this recipe to the previous one, though either was delicious.