Slow-Cooker Whole Chicken with Homemade Stock
-(1) 5-lb. whole chicken, thawed
-2 celery ribs
-salt/pepper to taste
-1 scant teaspoon powdered thyme (optional)
-2 tbs. fresh parsley (optional)
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-2 to 2-1/2 cups water
Start out by chopping up a couple of carrots and a couple of celery stalks. Put them in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker.
Sprinkle the vegetables with onion powder, powdered thyme (optional), parsley (optional) and salt/pepper to taste.
Remove a 5-lb. chicken (thawed) from its packaging and clean/skin only if desired. Place the whole chicken directly over the vegetables in the slow cooker. It should fit snugly.
Pour 2 or 2-1/2 cups of water over the chicken and place lid on slow cooker. Heat on LOW setting for 8 hours.
When fully cooked (temperature should read at least 165, but mine was closer to 200 degrees and had not dried out at all!), remove chicken from Crock Pot and place on platter to divide meat or serve.
Skin and gizzards will fall away without effort, as will the entire carcass.
Bag up the shredded meat into 2- or 3-cup portions and seal in freezer bags for later use, minus whatever you want to serve right away.
To reserve the chicken stock: Once the chicken meat has been removed from the slow cooker, you can easily salvage a few cups’ worth of valuable homemade chicken stock simply by straining the juice and discarding the cooked vegetable pieces. Label the stock well before refrigerating. Once chilled, open the container of stock and skim the fat from the top before using.