Does a whole chicken in a crockpot seem weird to you?
Inspired by my new crockpot, I slow cooked a whole chook. The Crockpot Lift & Serve is the largest model in the Crockpot range. If you have a large household or like to meal prep, this one is for you. Its oval design happens to make perfect for cooking a large chicken.
Whole chickens are affordable and shredding means you don’t need carving or or butcher skills. Just go at the tender cooked chicken with a fork. Easy.
One thing I loved about this recipe is that slow cooked chicken is succulent all over. All over! Even the wings. If you’ve ever roasted a chicken, you’ll know the wings are done long before the rest, often resulting in sad, dry wings. Once you have cooked this chicken and you’re done shredding the meat and awaiting the rice to finish cooking, give yourself permission to nibble on the wings as a reward for a job well done. Cook’s treat.
This recipe is a mash-up of three chicken recipes I grew up with:
- Hainanese Chicken Rice
- White Cut Chicken (Bak Chit Gai)
- Honey Soy Chicken
For those unfamiliar with these dishes, here’s a quick run down…
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a whole chicken poached in seasoned water. The resulting poaching liquid used to cook a fragrant rice. Often served with dipping sauces and broth, the migrant Chinese delivered this dish from Hainan in southern China to Singapore and Malaysia where they are now nationally celebrated dishes. This is one of my favourite dishes of all time and to me, the fragrant rice is just as important as the chicken. I could eat that rice all day. When I traveled to Malaysia for the first time, chicken rice was first thing I ordered when we touched down.
White Cut Chicken (Bak Chit Gai) is a Cantonese dish of poached chicken and is often served with ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. It is familiar to me like a classic roast chicken is familiar to the average Kiwi.
And finally, Honey Soy Chicken is a chicken dish most Kiwis probably grew up with. Honey Soy Chicken may have distant Chinese origins but it is well loved here in kiwi-land. There is even a honey soy chicken nibbles recipe in the Edmonds Cookbook (New Zealand’s most basic culinary bible). The sweet savoury combination is popular with kids and grown ups. It should be noted that some chicken rice vendors in Malaysia offer honey roast chicken as an option.
Don’t worry that the chicken is not submerged when you begin cooking. The resulting steam and heat of the crockpot is enough to cook the chicken to perfection. Trust me. Keeping liquids to a minimum is best for crockpot cooking and maximises on flavour. Both the chicken and the vegetables actually release liquid while cooking and the moisture is locked in. This recipe creates over 2 cups of cooking liquid!
Lining the crockpot with a layer of vegetables means they braise in a beautiful chicken and vegetable broth while keeping the chicken elevated. I’ve used onions, leeks and carrots as they’re affordable and add sweetness to the broth. If you’ve never tried braised leeks before, you are in for a treat. They soak up loads of of sauce and are delight.
I made this with a tablespoon of a chilli sauce which gives a little kick. If you are feeding little mouths or don’t like heat, just skip this bit.
Slow cooked whole chook with fragrant rice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup runny honey
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chilli sauce (optional)
- 1 onion
- 3 carrots
- 1 leek
- 1 large free range chicken (min 1.6kg)
- 3 cups long grain rice
- 1 cup water
- Ginger and spring onion sauce (see recipe below)
- A handful of chopped coriander or spring onion
- 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
- 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
- Remove the green part from the leek and cut the white section into 3cm thick rounds. Peel and quarter the onion. Peel and cut carrots to 3cm rounds. Place vegetables in the bottom of crockpot in a single layer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, grated ginger, minced garlic, white pepper, sesame oil, and chilli sauce. Place chicken in the slow cooker breast side up and pour in half the sauce, rubbing the chicken to coat all over. Turn the chicken over and pour and rub over the remaining sauce. With chicken breast side down, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Keep the lid on! Do not open the lid to peek or to turn the chicken during cooking. Once cooked, place the chicken on a platter. Spoon out the vegetables and place into a bowl until required.
- Ladle 2 cups of cooking liquid from the slow cooker and use to cook 3 cups of washed rice. If using a rice cooker, add 1 additional cup of water. If cooking on stove top, add 2 additional cups of water.
- While the rice is cooking, take a fork and shred the succulent cooked chicken from the bones. Discard bones. Find a home for those succulent chicken wings 😉 Place vegetables and meat back into the crockpot on the warm setting until ready to serve.
- Serve chicken with fragrant rice and vegetables. Drizzle with ginger and spring onion sauce (see recipe below). Serve with cucumber slices, garnish with coriander and thinly sliced chilli.
This ginger and spring onion sauce can be made ahead of time, but doesn’t take long so you can totally whip this up while your rice is cooking. I did.
Ginger and spring onion sauce
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 spring onions
- A splash of sesame oil
- A splash of light soy sauce
- Remove the roots from the spring onions and thinly slice the rest – both greens and whites.
- Warm the oil in a small sauce pan. Once the oil is hot and *just* beginning to slowly swirl around in the pot, turn off heat and carefully add the ginger, salt and spring onion. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil and set aside until ready to serve. Any extra sauce can be placed into a jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Delicious on chicken or fish or added to noodle or rice dishes as a condiment.
Win a crockpot!
In celebration of winter and the relaunch of Crockpot in New Zealand, win this Crockpot Lift & Serve CHP450 (RRP$159.99) so you can make this recipe and many more at home. Simply visit bit.ly/CrockPotNZ to find the answer to complete the entry form below.
Question: What is the capacity of the Crockpot Lift & Serve CHP450?
Terms and conditions
- One entry per person.
- Open to New Zealand only.
- Prize consists of one Crockpot Lift & Serve CHP450, RRP $159.99. Prize will be sent directly to the winner by Crockpot.
- Entries close 29 June 2017 and winner will be drawn 30 June 2017, contacted by email and announced here and on Facebook.
- In the event that the winner is not contactable within 3 days, Bunny Eats Design reserves the right to redraw a winner.