There are two things on this planet with which I am obsessed: Chicken, and my Crock Pot. Seriously folks, the crock pot is the lazy girl's BEST FRIEND EVAR. How awesome is it to just throw shit in there, turn it on, and come back like four hours later to dinner?
I've been on quite the crock pot bender lately, and so I'll be sharing some of the recipes. However, most of the time? My crock pot happenings are because I get up and say "oh shit we need dinner, what do I have?". Then, I open the cupboard and cuss some more.
Here's what we did yesterday. I'm here to tell you that it was AMAZING. And it was so easy!
I bought four leg/thigh pieces and a big bone-in breast (my husband's a boob man, what can I say) at Mosley's. I washed them, patted them dry, and smeared a bit of butter on them, y'all. I shook some Italian seasoning on them (oregano and the Scarborough Fair mix*), and laid the first three leg/thigh pieces meaty side down. Then, I smooshed three cloves of garlic and cut up 1/4 of a medium-sized onion (enough to put two or thee slices on each piece of chicken). Threw that in there, and then did the same thing with the remaining leg/thigh piece and the breast, only I layered those meat side up. I dotted the top of those pieces with a bit of butter too, y'all. Here's what it looked like when I was ready to put the lid on:
I then let it do its thang for about 6 hours on high. I stabbed the meatiest part of the breast with my meat thermometer (poultry should be about 180 degrees when done), and then pulled the meat out of there. This proved to be a challenge, because it was so well-cooked that it fell apart.
I took the drippings that were in the bottom of the crock, and made a quick gravy with them. Here's how I make my gravy with no lumps:
Take out the drippings, and put them in a pyrex (clear glass) measure. You're going for a total of 2 cups of liquid (drippings and milk here), so it's kind of important to know how much drippings you have to work with. Measure out the remainder of the 2 cups' worth in milk, but DO NOT COMBINE THEM.
Throw 2 tablespoons-ish of the drippings into the bottom of a saucepan. Turn the heat on medium-high (I use the "7" setting on my electric stove). Have a wire whisk handy (I like a lightweight flexible one for this task). Get some basic all-purpose flour, and sprinkle it on top of the drippings. Quickly whisk the flour in. This makes a roux. Let it brown up a bit - not too dark, or it'll get weird-tasting. Once that happens, dump in your drippings. Whisk the hell out of it to make sure there are no lumps. Get that warmed up, and then dump in enough milk to make a total of 2 cups of liquid. Heat that up to a simmer, stirring almost constantly. You'll see that it thickens up nicely as it cooks down, about 10 minutes. If you've been cooking it for a while and it's still pretty runny, add a bit more flour. Just sprinkle it on top of the liquid, and whisk it in like it's your job.
Got lumps? No worries. I highly recommend that you invest in a set of mesh strainers. I bought this set of three for $10 from Bed Bath and Beyond, and I can't tell you how many times I've used them. If you get lumps? Simply strain the gravy through one of those little puppies and TA DAH! No more lumps.
I served my chicken and gravy with some mashed potatoes. And my family was pretty happy. I think that next time, I'll use boneless chicken ... it was a royal pain in the ass to pull the meat off the bones, so I might just pay the extra 20 cents a pound and let someone else do it for me. They gave this meal a rating of "four cocks out of five", because of the creepy de-boning process.
* the Scarborough Fair mix = Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.