Friday, 27 January 2012

Slow cooker question

Hello all,

I have a question for those who have more experience with slow cookers than I do.

I have a whole free range chicken which I got from Lidl and I was planning on making a recipe from Nigellas kitchen book called Praised Chicken. Here is the recipe:

1 large chicken, preferably organic
2 teaspoons garlic oil
100ml white wine or dry white vermouth
2-3 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into approx. 7cm logs
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
1-2 sticks celery, sliced
approx. 2 litres cold water
1 bouquet garni or 1 teaspoon dried herbs
fresh parsley stalks or few sprigs, tied or banded together
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or 1 teaspoon pouring salt
2 teaspoons red peppercorns, or good grinding pepper
chopped leaves, from parsley stalks above
chopped fresh dill
English mustard

Serves: 4-8

Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep.
On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs
The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for 1½–2 hours. I tend to give it 1½ hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20–30 minutes.
Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish. 

Now to the question.

I wonder how I would do the same recipe in a slow cooker or if it were possible, perhaps it would leave the chicken not cooked enough. Anyone ever tried a recipe like this in a slow cooker?


  1. I find all meat takes many hours and tend to cook it overnight. I did try something similar but was worried about it being cooked all the way through so I cooked it at 200C in the oven in a foil wrapped pan for 45 minutes first, got it quite well cooked and gave lots of juices. Transferred it then cooked it slowly overnight. It was cooked through but all slow-cookers vary so maybe someone can give you a better answer.

  2. As long as you give this at least 8 hours in the slow cooker and have it on the Low setting all the time, this should be perfectly fine to do in your slowcooker.

  3. We've made chickens in our slow cooker several times now (the slow cooker is a recent addition). In fact, I was just thinking I need to add a chicken recipe to our blog (I have several other slow cooker recipes we've used posted but they involve beef/pork). We use the 8 hour setting on low. With the amount of liquid in that, you should accomplish the same thing as her recipe. Unless your slow cooker allows searing, you'd still want to do the pre browning in oil though as that's where alot of the flavor of a recipe like that comes from. Good luck and let us know how it comes out! We love Nigella and would enjoy trying this recipe.

  4. You can pot roast in a slow cooker quite well but it does take a LOT longer than on a stove top.

    I'd consider using less liquid in a slow cooker as it doesn't reduce and it will stay moist anyway. Also, I'd use hot water rather than cold as it will come up to temperature quicker.

    1. I use my slow cooker almost every weekend--I'd cook the chicken either on low (with much less liquid unless you're making a stew/soup) for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours or so. The beauty of the slow cooker is that it can cook tough cuts of meat, it won't overcook them, and it saves energy. It also frees up time for you to do other things.

      I've cooked an entire chicken in my slow cooker--I have a 6 quart oval one--I just plunk it on top of some quartered onions and root veg with a little (about 1/4 cup) of water in it. I'll stuff the bird with a combo of an onion, fruit, and fresh herbs, throw on a little salt and pepper, and then let it cook all day. The chicken comes out very tender and makes for wonderful leftovers. You can also do 40 cloves of garlic chicken in the slow cooker--about 3-4 pounds of cut up chicken, tossed with paprika and salt and pepper, placed in the slow cooker (on top of chopped onion) with about, well, 40 cloves of garlic. Delicious!

      There is a blog called A Year of Slow Cooking and she has all kinds of recipes that you may find useful. Her link is here:

  5. I cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker, \i also put in the carrots and onions and let them cook, I add half a mug of water, some salt and pepper and that's it. I switch it on at 6.30 before I leave for work and eat it at 6pm when i come home. I drop ready cooked spuds in the deep fat fryer and call them roasties!

  6. Thank you everyone, I appreciate the advice and will give it a go tomorrow. Will put it on as soon as I wake up and it should be delicious by evening. I'll let you know how I get on. Its snowed hard here this afternoon and I think I am snowed in! How lovely.

  7. Yes, as long as you cook it on low for about 8 hours and not too much liquid it will be fine.
    Dont keep taking the lid off to check it as that makes it lose heat and takes longer. Also if it has been in the fridge bring it out for a short while to take the chill off it. It really cant overcook if it on low.

  8. One other thing - cut down on the salt if you are using less liquid. Just a pinch - you can add more at the end.