At this point in my cooking career, I have probably roasted 15 whole chicken, plus two Thanksgiving turkeys. Despite this, I still for the life of me cannot figure out which way is up, literally. I can never decide which side is supposed to be facing up in the roasting pan! Not only does this mean my bird never quite looks the way other people's do in pictures, but it's also especially challenging when I'm trying to use a meat thermometer to figure out if the meat is done. I couldn't tell you the number of times I've googled where to put the thermometer, only to be shown a picture of a bird that I can't, no matter which way I turn it, compare directly to my own. This has resulted in countless full roasted chickens that would be beautiful and photo-worthy, if not for the 50 cuts I've made throughout to check if the meat is done. Needless to say, roasting a chicken has been a pretty stressful process.
That is, until I discovered the crockpot roast chicken! This is the easiest thing in the world and completely foolproof. Just stick it in the crockpot, turn it on, and when you come back you have a perfectly cooked chicken. I don't even bother cutting into it anymore to check if it's done before I start carving, because it's THAT foolproof. Plus, you collect all these delicious juices in the pot that you can turn into a super easy pan gravy - because let's be real, why would you ever eat a roast chicken without covering it in gravy first? This is the first thing I ever made for Tim's parents and was not even remotely stressed about how it would turn out - THAT'S how much I trust this recipe. PS - this is obviously best served with mashed potatoes, but on the particular night this photo was taken, I was a little concerned about scurvy.
Crockpot Roast Chicken with Gravy
- 3-4 lb whole chicken (for a 6 quart crockpot - go smaller if your crockpot is smaller)
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salt (4 if you're not making gravy)
- 2 tablespoons pepper
- 1/2 cup water (only needed if you're making gravy)
- 3 tablespoons flour (only needed if you're making gravy) - to make gluten-free, use 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
Crumple up 4 a-little-smaller-than-a-tennis-ball-sized balls of tinfoil and place in a square at the bottom of the crockpot - they act like a roasting rack and lift the chicken off the bottom of the pot and out of the juices. Remove giblets from chicken and save for future use or throw away. Fill bowl with salt and pepper mixture for easy access. Stick the chicken in the crockpot on top of the tinfoil balls to contain mess, and rub chicken with olive oil and then the salt and pepper mixture inside and out. Feel free to use more of each if you're not making the gravy, but don't go overboard if you are - a lot of it will fall off the bird while you're doing the rub and will end up in your gravy. Set the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 7.
When chicken is close to done, mix together water and flour (or cornstarch) until fully flour is fully dissolved, and turn on the broiler. When crockpot time is up, remove the chicken and place on a baking sheet, and broil on a middle rack (or low if you only have two - just not too close to the broiler) until the skin is crispy (3-5ish minutes, but can depend on your broiler). Keep an eye on it though - you don't want to burn the skin. Remove when skin is crispy, let sit for five minutes, and carve. Quick note - occasionally (and by that I mean it's only not happened to me once), the chicken will be so tender that whole pieces will fall off when you remove it from the crockpot. Just scoop them up and add to the baking sheet - it won't be as pretty, but it'll be delicious!
While chicken is resting, pour all remaining contents of the crockpot (minus the tinfoil balls) into a saucepan (or pot, whatever you have). Bring to a boil, and whisk in the water / flour mixture until dissolved. Once gravy is thickened with the roux, pour into a bowl over a mesh strainer (I use the same mesh colander I use for pasta) to remove any solids, put as much as you want on your chicken, and serve!