My favorite way of fixing a whole chicken in order to reuse leftovers in salads and other dishes is to roast it in a slow cooker. One good thing my mother taught me in the kitchen was to stuff turkeys with oranges and apples to keep it moist rather than stuff it with stuffing. I took this lesson and applied it to chicken and varied the items I used to stuff. Lemons. Limes. Onions. Garlic. Fresh herbs. Dried herbs. It’s nearly limitless what you can stuff into a chicken. There really is no right or wrong way to do it either.
Truss the chicken? Pffft. Trussing is for overachievers. I learned how to truss a long time ago. I probably could if I really wanted to, but why bother? There is usually a loose flap of skin on poultry that you can tuck the end of the legs into. Just stuff the chicken, tuck the legs and place in the slow cooker. It doesn’t get simpler than that.
I make my chicken go a long way. Along with this dinner of chicken, artichokes, and mashed potatoes, I used leftover meat to make Chicken Stew and Chicken Salad. I used the juices to make mashed potatoes in place of butter for a different dinner. And I used the bones along with veggie scraps I was saving in the freezer to make the broth for the chicken stew. One chicken, four dishes, eight meals. Yes, my dinner leftovers are always lunch for the following day. It’s the easiest way for me to make sure I have a good healthy lunch. Besides, sometimes leftovers are even better than the first time around.
Lemon Basil Chicken
1 whole chicken
1/2 onion, halved
1 lemon, quartered
large sprig basil (you want lots of leaves on the sprig)
salt and pepper to taste
If you grease your slow cooker take care of that first. Stuff the main cavity of the chicken with 3 of the lemon quarters, the basil sprig and one of onion quarters. Stuff the rear cavity with the remaining lemon and onion. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and rub the seasoning into the skin well. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before carving it.