Apologies for the photo of the raw chicken, but it had to be done. Today I want to talk about cleaning and cooking a whole chicken. Some of you out there hate dealing with raw poultry. Some of you refuse. And some are just plain scared. I don’t blame you. They’re pretty ugly.
I’ve got a list of ways to season a whole chicken as well as a list of recipes you can use the leftover meat in. But first let’s talk about cleaning one of these birds.
How to Clean a Whole Chicken
Take the chicken out of the wrapper. I like to do this in a clean sink so I have plenty of room to work. Pull the bag of innards out of the cavity of the bird. Then run cold water and rinse the chicken, inside and out. Put it in the slow cooker with the breast meat on top. If the chicken has a pop up timer, that should be on top. Cook the chicken on high for 6-8 hours, depending on the size. If it’s a big chicken and still a bit frozen, you’ll need closer to 8 hours.
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you can scrub out your sink and you’ll not only have your dinner ready to go, but a shiny sink too.
Ideas for Seasoning a Whole Chicken
A lot of times, I just go with salt and pepper. Sometimes I use Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Other times, I just use the regular table stuff. You can’t go wrong with plain salt and pepper. If I want to end up with broth for making dumplings or noodles, I add several cups of water.
Here are some other ideas for seasoning:
- Lemon pepper
- Dried herbs, such as thyme, tarragon, basil, oregano
- Fresh herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, thyme
- Mix lemon juice or white wine with olive oil and rub on the chicken. Add any herbs you like.
- Spice it up with paprika, ground red pepper or chili powder
Uses for Leftover Chicken
I love to have leftover cooked chicken in the freezer. I cut it or shred it and freeze it in 2-3 cup quantities. This can be quickly thawed in the microwave and then added to all kinds of recipes. Here are some of my favorites:
- Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Golden Chicken Enchiladas
- Black Bean and Corn Chicken Taco Bake
- White Enchiladas
- Mandarin Chicken Rice Bake
- Chicken Broccoli Divan
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Chicken and Dressing Casserole
- Chicken Tetrazini
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Cheesy Chicken Chowder
What about you?
Do you like to cook whole chickens? How do you season them? Do you have a favorite recipe to use the leftover meat in?