A few months ago, one of my oldest and best friends offered to take a day off of work to help me navigate the aisles of Babies ‘R Us prior to registering for my baby shower. She has three little girls, so her advice was a huge help, especially for someone who had never stepped inside of a baby store before and had absolutely, positively no idea what 99% of the items were used for, and if they were actually necessary.
After our crash course in baby paraphernalia, we went out to lunch to catch up on life and she mentioned that she had just made a whole chicken in her slow cooker and that it was absolutely amazing. My mind was officially blown. I’ve roasted a few chickens in the oven, but they’re always hit or miss for me, so I was totally intrigued by the idea and asked her to send me the recipe. I ended up trying out a handful of recipes before I found the one that my husband and I loved the most, and it comes out perfectly every single time!
This takes very little prep time; you can get the chicken into the slow cooker in less than a half hour, and it’s totally hands-off from that point forward. The result is a totally juicy chicken that literally falls apart as soon as you touch it. The meat slides right off the bone (I’ve lost the drumsticks each time I’ve made it!) and is perfect for keeping on hand for quick and easy meals. Some nights I’ll make a batch of mashed potatoes to serve alongside the chicken, then we use leftovers for sandwiches and salads. You could also use the leftover meat for things like soup, quesadillas, burritos… even freeze it!
I’ve loved stocking up on slow cooker recipes over the last few months; I don’t think I’ll ever need the oven again for making a whole chicken! Thank goodness for old friends and great recipes :)
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic and tomato paste, and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the wine and broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add the thyme sprigs and bay leave to the slow cooker. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place, breast-side-down, in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 4 to 6 hours.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Let the liquid in the slow cooker settle for 5 minutes, then skim the fat off of the surface using a large spoon. Strain the liquid, discarding the solids, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce.