Most people wouldn't consider using their slow cooker to cook a whole chicken. What if I told you that it was not only EASY, but also a great way to save the day when you wake up in the morning and realize that you've forgotten to defrost anything for supper? You can cook a chicken straight from frozen in the slow cooker, safely ,and without stress.
If that hasn't given you enough reason to consider using your slow cooker to bake a chicken, if you've ever lamented that you don't have a rotisserie to help you get a moist, juicy bird, then you've GOT to try this out. Chicken in the crockpot will stay moist and come out incredibly tender. In fact, if you want to be able to take the chicken out whole to carve it, you had better bake it in a scrap of cheesecloth!
Baking the chicken with slices of lemon on top does wonderful things. First, you don't have to worry about the fact that your frozen chicken will come out tasty. All you really need is a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, plus the lemons, and you're good to go! Feel free, however, to add other complimentary herbs like a pinch of dried thyme or rosemary, and season to your taste. Secondly, when slow-roasted, the sugars in the lemon begin to caramelize, giving a sweet, mellow taste unlike anything you've probably ever associated with a lemon.
The chicken's skin will not become brown and crispy as it would in the oven, but trust me: nobody will care.
Cut up the potatoes, celery, and chunk-cut the carrots into large pieces sufficient to elevate the chicken off the bottom of the crock pot and keep from going mushy, and use them to line the bottom of the crock.
Spread the cheesecloth (if using it), over the top of the vegetables and up over the edges of the crock pot, trimming it if it is a large cheesecloth.
Place the chicken on top of the cheesecloth, sprinkling it generously with salt & pepper, garlic & onion powder, and the thyme. Line the top of the chicken and legs with the slices of lemon, and fold the cheesecloth over the top of the chicken to help hold them in place.
Add water and wine to the bottom of the crockpot, cover, and bake on low for about 6-7 hours (if frozen) or 4-5 hours (if thawed). When chicken begins to split at the thigh and knee, and the chest cavity begins to collapse, it is done. Use the cheesecloth to remove the chicken from the crock, and preserve the liquid from the bottom to make gravy. Serve with the roasted vegetables from the bottom.
Follow Anne on her Hunger Games Challenge: Feeding Your Family on a Strict Budget