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Stoney’s Crew: A Chicken in Every Pot (Well, Almost!)

Yes, folks, there are a few of you that are beginners and would like to know the basics, so we will begin by slow-cooking a chicken. I like doing this overnight…yes, you heard me, overnight. If I were still working outside the home, I would do this on a Friday night, wake up to cooked chicken on Saturday (I am an early bird [err…riser]), pick apart the bird, package and clean up. This leaves the rest of the day for PLAY! Yep, PLAY! Are you ready to follow me on this program? And away we go!
This is my partner on this adventure. You will be getting to know him quite well in the next few days. Yep, I picked him up a while back for 88 cents a pound and he has been waiting ever so patiently in the freezer for his big debut!
I have an oval shaped slow cooker. I chose this model because of the compatibility to chickens, turkey breasts, and roast beef. There is just something comforting about not jamming the meat into the pot vertically. (Yes, I know, I am a bit odd, and made an emotional decision when I purchased it!) Spray the crock with a non-stick spray. The way I cook the bird, it probably doesn’t matter, but I am a better safe than sorry kind of gal!

Before we put this guy in the cooker, we need to remove the stuff from inside the bird and give him a shower in the sink. Yes, you are correct, I have on gloves. Why? Mostly because I personally cannot stand raw meat making its way under my fingernails; and if I wear gloves, I am not compelled to spend 15 minutes washing my hands post-raw chicken prep. (You can do what you need to on this.) While he is showering, look him over thoroughly for anything that shouldn’t be there. This habit is thanks to Grandma H, if you find something you don’t think is appealing, get rid of it. (Apparently in the olden days, a pin feather or two was not uncommon.) This particular bird spent 3 days basking in the fridge and was still frozen in the middle, so I had to run tepid water on him a while to get him to release the giblet pack and neck.

In the other side of the sink, I have a bag ready to catch the packaging, gloves and what-nots post prep…lift by the handles and no need to touch directly. Hey, it is a way to reuse those plastic shopping bags. I cut off the tail and set aside in a small saucepan with the neck and bag-o-goodies taken out of the bird.

I season the bird with salt, pepper and ground sage. I rub some of the ground sage into the inside of the bird and just shake some salt and pepper in (I remove one of my gloves here so I don’t contaminate the shakers.) I set the bird down in the crock and sprinkle with enough salt, pepper, and ground sage to “Track a Rabbit” to coin a Grandma H phrase. Please remember that in order to “Track a Rabbit” you do not need to create a blizzard…just a very light snowfall so that you can follow their trail. There, can you see it in this picture?

That’s all the seasoning you need. Yep, that is all!
Now set that bird down in the pot and fill with water to just about half immersion. I use filtered water from my Brita pitcher because we live in the country and our choice is softened water from the tap (too much salt, thank you) or hard water. The Brita takes the iron out of the hard water tap without adding the salt. This is the water that we drink, so this is the water that I prefer to cook with. Put the lid on him, turn on low, walk away. If you choose to do this during the day, please, PLEASE do not take the lid off and peek. Also, if your bird has one of those done-ness gauges (Pilgrim’s Arrow [grins]), that may (or may not) pop a couple of hours into the roast…IGNORE IT!

Remember the saucepan with the neck and giblets? Fill the saucepan about 3 quarters of the way with water (filtered), salt, pepper, ground sage and bring to a boil. Let simmer 20 minutes or so, remove from heat, skim off foam/grunge. The cooked liver and kidney you can chop up and give to your kitty or puppy as a treat. Strain and toss the rest of the solids, and pour the liquid into a container to be used at a later date.
I used a pint jar. Stash the jar in the fridge for later.

Clean up the kitchen. Remember that 15 minutes I didn't spend scrubbing my hands? I spent it on the sinks while the gibblets were cooking. Gotta remove any raw chicken contamination! A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen!
After the kitchen is clean, go put on your pj’s and hit the sack. Nighty-night!

About 8 hours or so later. (Good morning sunshine!) You will wake up to a wonderful smell and after you stumble back into the kitchen, this is what you see!

Well, almost...I forgot to take a picture before I started taking it out of the pot… (Yep, I am new to this!) Now it is time for your morning cup of joe and to begin a bit of work. (If you go a bit longer than 8 hours, don’t worry about it; there is plenty of liquid in the pot to keep your bird from drying out—just don’t make it more than 1-1/2 hours.) An idea if you need to buy time on this is to plug the cooker into a timer to either delay the start by 30 minutes or so, and/or shut off after an extra 30 minutes. (Hmmmm, I may have to dig a timer out of the Christmas decorations box!)

I use tongs, a fork, and a slotted spoon to lift out and "bone-pick." The meat will fall off of the bones, so the slotted spoon is really helpful.

After I have separated the meat from the bones, the meat plate will look like this.

The bone bowl will look like this. Yes, I know it looks like I could have gleaned more meat, but I have this experiment that I am working on. More on that experiment in a few days.

I then set up a bowl with a strainer on it to strain the broth through, like this. Pour the broth through the strainer and then put into some sort of containers.

I use canning jars, I put the lids on and refrigerate, I don’t process them. I don’t have a pressure canner, and I usually use the stock within a couple of weeks, if not, leave enough head space at the top of the jar to freeze. As you can see, the broth is starting to separate and gel. This is a good thing. Stash in fridge.

Back to the meat. I will usually package in freezer zip bags in approximately 2 cup portions and freeze so that the meat is ready quickly when I need it. I don’t have one of those vacuum sealers, so I remove as much air as possible before sealing the package. This time, I put it all (and there was a lot) in a single gallon-size bag (stuffed full!) because I will be using it within the next week.

Dinner that evening was Roast Chicken, Parmesan Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus.
Tomorrow, we will see the second of the meals this bird has provided! And I am working on an experiment, details will come later!

Official adult meal count so far: 2!

Helpful sites:
Here is a site I enjoy, perhaps you will to! The Simple Dollar generally gives a 30,000 foot overview of financial and frugal info. Take a peek and see if there is any discussion that you find interesting too!


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