This recipe is actually two recipes in one: Roasted chicken and vegetables, and roasted chicken and veggie soup. It is perfect for those crazy days when you are super busy but someone who you really need to impress is coming for dinner... Those are hard days.
Now, I know what you're thinking. No, I'm not losing my mind. That happened years ago! Wat happened was, I had a plan for a nice roast chicken and vegetable recipe one could make in the crock pot, but then had the hair brained idea to use my immersion blender on the veggies and broth once I removed the chicken... What's the worst that could happen? I can't ever keep things simple. If I know I can make it better, I seriously can't help myself from doing so, no matter how complicated it makes my life.
Anyway, I was afraid I had ruined it, but it actually was better than simply serving chicken and roasted veggies.
So, with this recipe, you have two options once your cooking time is up:
1. Slice the chicken and serve with a side of your vegetables.
2. Remove the chicken, cut it up, and use an immersion blender (or a regular blender in batches) on the vegetables and broth to make a really delicious and smooth soup!
Either choice you make will be delicious and healthy.
As you can probably see, there really wasn't a point in writing and posting this same recipe twice just to change the end of the recipe. I guess I could have, but that's just not how I roll. It seems silly to me.
So, you might notice that this is a little more complicated than most crock pot meals, which involve opening a few cans and dumping them in. While we can all appreciate those from time to time, in this instance, the extra effort is worth it. All of the ingredients in this recipe are totally optional (other than the chicken, of course). Maybe you aren't a huge fan of fresh basil, or would rather have cauliflower than broccoli. As is the case with most of my recipes, I expect you to make this dish to your liking. You can make this as simple or complicated as you want!
Oh, and for all of you busy folks, I recommend cutting up your veggies and mixing your rub the night before you are making this recipe.
They say you have to season the inside and outside of a chicken for the best results, and this recipe is the proof. Enjoy!
Yield: 6-8 (large) servings
- 1 3.5-4 lb whole chicken
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- 1/2 lb. new potatoes, cut into 2-3 pieces
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch-long pieces
- 3-4 medium crowns broccoli, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-2 fingers ginger, cut into 1/2" chunks
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, + 2-3 more, leaves separated from stems for the rub
- 3-4 sprigs fresh basil, + 5-6 leaves (chopped for rub)
- 3-4 sprigs fresh dill
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 lemon, zest reserved for rub
- 1/2 tablespoon dry rosemary
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche (or heavy cream) Bonus points if you use my creme fraiche recipe!
- salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- butcher twine
Place all veggies in the bottom of a crock pot that has been sprayed with cooking spray, add chicken broth, and season to taste.
Prepare rub by mixing in butter, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (a natural tenderizer), lemon zest, 2 minced garlic cloves, thyme leaves, and chopped basil.
Gather 1/4 of your onion, cut into smaller pieces to fit inside the hen, 4-5 slices of your lemon, and remaining herbs.
Rinse and thoroughly dry hen, and then stuff with your stuffing ingredients ( 1/4 onion, 4-5 slices of your lemon, and remaining herbs). Tie legs together with butcher twine.
Slather chicken with the rub, and then place breast-side up in the crock pot on top of veggies.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
Once time is up, you can either remove the chicken and vegetables and serve just like that. If that is your choice, you are finished. After you taste for seasoning, of course!
If you are making the soup, use an immersion blender (or regular blender in small batches) on veggies and broth until the soup is the consistency you prefer. You may wish to remove some of the broth at first and then add it back when you are finished blending to thin the soup out a bit.
You could even blend only half of the vegetables and make a gravy-type sauce to serve over your chicken and whole vegetables!
Mix in creme fraiche (or in a pinch, heavy cream/sour cream), taste for seasoning, and serve! Bonus points if you use my creme fraiche recipe!
Here is a pin-able photo for Pinterest: