Farmer's Easy Chicken Stew
One small 2-4 pound chicken, whole.
5 or 6 medium to large carrots
4 or 5 potatoes or parsnips (or both!)
Chicken bullion (cubes, paste, or powder works) or pre-made stock
1 bunch of kale
Chicken seasoning/rub herbs (I like the very basic store-bought Chicken Montreal Seasoning)
1. Take your defrosted or fresh bird and rinse it off in the sink. Then place it in the empty crock pot, cover with a coating of olive oil, sprinkle on a generous amount of chicken seasoning and set it to high. In a few hours you will have a cooked chicken. You know it is done when it literally starts falling apart when you touch it. Grab a leg and feel it come loose from the body, almost like only liquid is keeping it together in one piece. If you aren't sure it's done, cut into the breast and check for white meat in the breast. It is a good indication your bird is cooked. Now! If some of you are rolling your eyes at instructions on how to cook a chicken in a slow cooker, I understand. But I am certain there are readers out there who don't realize this is an option while they are at the office or out picking up their kids from school. You can do this with rabbit, game, pork, lamb, beef.... anything really.
2. Remove bird from slow cooker once done and cut off the meaty bits. Put them back into the crock pot with about 5 cups of water. I cut off the legs and wings and put them into the pot too—bones and all—and let them become part of that glorious broth.
3. Peel or slice off skins/outer layers of potatoes, parsnips, kale, onions, and carrots. Cut up into hearty chunks and add to your water/chicken pot.
4. Add stock, bullion, or paste to taste. You should check after a few cubes or teaspoons of flavor how it is coming along. Trust your taste buds and don't be scared to add salt or pepper either. A little ginger and garlic never hurt anyone either. Just saying.
5. Turn on low and let those beautiful beasts get to know each other while you are out doing chores, at the office, running errands or taking a nap. If it starts bubbling, set it to a lower heat or unplug a while.
6. Once vegetables are cooked, meat is tender, and broth is amazing - feel free to add more water if flavors are too powerful or a cream roux (google it ) if you'd like to have a richer body to it.
7. Enjoy. Serve over rice for a more filling meal or in mugs in your truck if you are on the go to get a load of hay! Either way, it is amazing. It is energizing, comforting, and easy to source this time of year from local farms still growing or storing such greens. I got my chicken from Stannard Farm for a little over six dollars (bless them). But I wouldn't hesitate to take out a young Antlerborn or American Bresse for such a fine meal. It lasts for days, is always hot, and laying in wait for me. It keeps this farmer going, that is for sure. What I don't eat in 2 days gets frozen in mason jars with freezer screw on lids. Ready for a quick defrosting in a saucepan of cold water set on the stove at a medium heat to slowly warm up into a hot meal. It's my version of take out.