Before my commitment to real food, I had never cooked a whole chicken! I was strictly a boneless, skinless breast girl. The idea of a whole chicken scared me! I had no idea what to do with it!
Now, I cook whole chickens at least once, if not more, a week!!! My how times change!
Why do I choose pasture raised chicken? Why not just pick any old bird at the grocery?
You know the saying ‘You are what your eat”? Well, there's another version of that…”You are what you eat eats.” You get the benefits or risks…depending what the animal eats.
Conventional chickens are raised in factory farm conditions…crowded together, beaks clipped, fed grain which is usually genetically modified, sometimes laced with arsenic and pumped full of antibiotics. The meat is often washed in chlorinated water or irradiated to get rid of bacteria.
Pastured chickens, however, spend their time outdoors…where they should be, scratching at the grass, eating bugs and grass. They are fed often fed grain (hopefully organic, soy free) to supplement their diet.
Health Benefits of Pastured Chicken
- higher in Omega 3 fatty acids
- less fat than conventional chickens
- less saturated fat than conventional chickens
- Higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
- And it tastes delicious! Like CHICKEN
Curious about where to find pastured chicken? Click here. If you don't have access to pastured chicken, I'd go for organic, vegetarian fed chicken. At least you can avoid the hormones and antibiotics and GMO feed, synthetic pesticides and sewage sludge (yes that is right) this way. And, while chickens are NOT vegetarians, conventional chickens are often fed animal by products. Yuck. I do think it is important to buy the best quality animal proteins you can find. It's worth the effort and the expense!
Here's a great guide to buying chickens and deciphering the confusing labels!
Anyway, now to the RECIPE!!! My favorite (and easiest) way of cooking my chicken is to do a Rotisserie-rubbed crockpot style chicken.
I love the versatality of this crockpot chicken recipe. I usually make one each week for dinner, served with roasted vegetables and a salad. I also often make the chicken a second time, and shred all the meat to have on hand for chicken salads, fajitas, soups…you name it!
First, I mix up my seasonings. I like to make a big batch to have on hand for later!
Then, I coat the bird with melted butter (sometimes I skip this step if I am in a hurry). And I rub about 2-3 tbsp of the spice rub all over the bird, inside and out.
I set the bird in the crockpot on top of (optional) chopped celery, carrots and onions. I DO NOT add any liquid to the crockpot.
I set the pot on low and cook for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-6 hours). And voila…dinner is served! This time I paired it with sauteed asparagus, roasted cabbage and a quinoa pilaf.
- 1 whole chicken (4 lbs or so), pastured or organic
- 2 tbsp melted butter or ghee or olive oil
- Spice Rub-
- 2 tsp Celtic sea salt
- 1 tbsp organic paprika
- pinch organic cayenne (more if you like spicy)
- 2-3 tsp organic onion powder
- 1 tsp organic dried thyme (or 4 sprigs fresh)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp organic garlic powder
- pinch truffle salt (optional)
- 2 organic bay leaves
- 1-2 onions, chopped roughly
- 2-3 carrots, chopped roughly
- 2 celery stalks, chopped roughly
- Place chopped onions, carrots, celery in bottom of crockpot.
- Add bay leaf
- Rinse and pat dry chicken. Remove gizzards (if any) from cavity and save in freezer bag for stock.
- Rub chicken inside and out with melted butter or oil (optional)
- Rub chicken inside and out with spice rub
- Place chicken on top of veggies in crockpot.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours.
- 6 tbsp Celtic salt
- 9 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 6 tbsp onion powder
- 3 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp garlic powder