7.29.2012

You know why? Chicken thigh - savory and slow cooked!

Lately I've learned that the only way I can survive the Sunday afternoon crowds at Costco is to just lean on my cart and peregrinate throughout the store at the slowest of paces.  By doing this, I am forced to look at shelves I once blazed by, no longer missing out on new and unique merchandise and provisions.

One great discovery I made lately - an oversized can of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.  A month supply for normal folks, a week supply for me and my potentially elevated Omega-6 levels.  More on Omega-6 and nuts can be found HERE.  Immediately into the cart went my new can of sweet Hawaiian pearls.

I tend to be picky about my meat and when opportunity and checkbook balances align - I opt for grass-fed, pastured, free-range, etc. whenever possible.  But when the fridge is empty and the closest sources are an hour drive or two-day shipping away... I'm okay with picking up what is readily available.  I will still read labels and be discriminatory - avoiding at all costs mystery sourced meat full of hormones and antibiotics.

Passing by the ominous human thigh-sized tubes of Kirkland "ground beef", I eventually stumbled upon a two-pack of Coastal Range whole organic young chickens.  I could do without the vegetarian-fed, but the organic caught my eye and I read that the chickens are not treated with hormones, antibiotics, or steroids.  A whole chicken is a blank slate in the kitchen and will make plenty of food for meals and snacks during the week.  In the cart the little birds went!

Once I got home, I Googled my way around "whole chicken recipes" until I found a very Paleo-friendly and super savory option utilizing the slow-cooker

I started with THIS fantastic recipe and made a few tweaks to the seasoning blend...

All of my seasonings were from Penzeys
I substituted additional fresh ground black pepper in place of the white pepper
I used two cups of thick sliced red and white onion to line the bottom of the slow-cooker



After cleaning, rinsing, and drying my chicken, I rubbed the seasoning blend underneath the skin of the thighs and breast, then all over the entire outside body.  Then I tossed the chicken in the slow-cooker on LOW and set the timer for six hours.  


Next time I will check the bird after four hours and the monitor continuously after that.  I will also monitor my chicken by temperature and not just time.  When I went to remove the bird from the slow-cooker it completely fell apart.  Tender meat - guaranteed!  Remnants for gravy - not so easy with all those little bones in my stock.

I separated all the meat onto a serving platter and then strained what was left in the slow-cooker ensuring no bone fragments made it through.  I needed the juices to make a gravy...

Savory Gravy:
• Two strips of bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon Kerrygold Grass-Fed Garlic & Herb Butter
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 c. almond flour
strained juices from slow-cooked chicken

In a sauce pan, I cooked the chopped bacon over medium-high heat until it started to give up its fat.  Then I added the butter and onions to the pan of bacon and bacon fat, stirring every so often.  Once the onions were soft and translucent, I added the almond flour to the mix and continued to stir slowly until the almond flour started to brown.  Then I slowly added in the juices from the chicken and stirred until everything was well mixed together.  I stopped at this point, but the next time I make this I will either put the gravy in my food processor to blend it all together or use an immersion blender to make it smooth.  Since there was so much seasoning from the original chicken and salt from the bacon, I didn't see any need to add more salt to the gravy.  I did add a few grinds of black pepper and might even suggest a squirt of fresh lemon juice to add a fresh light, note to the gravy.

Matt and I loaded up our plates with moist, tender chicken and a bowl of side salad and we were both very satisfied with the outcome.


Now I'm looking forward to my next Costco adventure, only to see what other new discoveries I will stumble across when I am not stumbling across the toes of hungry little children pushing their way to the free food samples.

Any special items you've found at Costco?  Or favorite ways to cook a whole chicken?  Please share in the comments!




2 comments:

  1. i like to cook my whole chicken like this:

    1. take one whole chicken
    2. give it to a restaurant or to my mother-in-law
    3. eat it after *they* have done miraculous things to it that i can't even begin to think about doing.

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    Replies
    1. My door is always open and you are welcome to come over and eat whole chicken. No preparation required on your part. Just bring a small baby for cuddles and hugs at your convenience.

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