Why I Love This Recipe
Ingredients You'll Need
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)--reserve the lemon rinds
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 whole lemon--quartered
1 head of garlic--cloves separated, but left in their individual skins
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Put the pan used to sear the chicken back on medium-high heat, pour in HALF of the lemon juice mixture and let sit until just boiling. Use a spatula to scrape up any bits of chicken stuck to the pan. Once the pan is deglazed, pour mixture over the chicken in the slow-cooker.
Put lemon rinds (reserved from squeezing the juice), 1 whole bouillon cube, and a few of the garlic cloves inside the cavity of the chicken. Arrange lemon quarters, the remaining garlic cloves, and the sprigs of thyme around the chicken toward the edges of the cooker. Crumbled the other bouillon cube over the chicken and rub it into the skin.
Place the lid on the cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. (Note: This recipe is best when done on HIGH, but can also be done in 6-8 hours on LOW.)
Twenty to thirty minutes before the time is done, pour reserved lemon juice mixture over chicken and add the rosemary sprigs. (Rosemary tends to get bitter and antiseptic tasting if cooked the entire time in the slow-cooker.)
Remove chicken from the slow-cooker and allow it to rest on the carving board (or handy cookie sheet) for about 20 minutes. The meat actually continues cooking during this resting period and the juices will redistribute through the meat. When ready to serve, tear off the skin and discard. Use your fingers to pull off the legs--the bones should come apart with a gentle tug, but if they don't use a carving knife to wedge them apart. Keep using your fingers to work over the chicken, placing the meat on a serving platter and reserving the bones for another use (like home-made chicken broth!). Serve immediately!
If you don't have a slow cooker, you have a couple other options:
1. Poaching in a dutch oven: A dutch oven can very closely duplicate the slow cooker. Prepare the chicken exactly following the instructions above, but place the chicken and all ingredients in a dutch oven instead. Cover with the lid and place it on the middle rack in a COLD (not preheated) oven. Heat the oven to 300 degrees and cook for three hours or until a thermometer in the thigh meat registers 180 degrees. You can bast the chicken every 45 minutes or so.
2. On the stove top: If you don't have a slow cooker or a dutch oven, you can poach chicken breasts on the stove top in a skillet. I'm sure you could figure out a way to poach an entire chicken on the stove top--perhaps in a stockpot or dutch over over low heat?--but I've never done it.
Marinate the chicken breasts for 2-24 hours in the seasoning mixture from the recipe above. When ready to cook, place the breasts in a skillet or fry pan in a SINGLE layer. Cover chicken with the basting mixture and add enough additional chicken broth so that there is about 1/2 inch of liquid in the bottom--it should almost cover chicken, but the tops should still be above the liquid.
Turn on the heat to medium-high and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover skillet with a fitted lid. Let it cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes, then cut into the thickest part of one of the breasts to check for doneness. If it is still raw pink, recover the pan and cook for anther 5 minutes. Repeat until all the breasts are done. (Smaller breasts may be done sooner and should be removed.)