I always buy whole chicken, organic at Costco or from my local farmer, because it is much cheaper than buying chicken parts. All my boys LOVE my grandma’s slow cooker chicken noodle soup and last time Alex went to Costco, he got a 2 pack of organic whole chickens. I had one left in a freezer and decided to try making slow cooker whole chicken with rosemary, lemon, garlic and pasta.
All magic happens right in a slow cooker. Hear me out how. No, I didn’t cook pasta for 8 hours in a crockpot. No sane person wants to do that ever. Instead, I added pasta right at the end, just like in my crockpot chicken spaghetti.
I first rubbed chicken with lemon juice. I placed whole chicken on a plate while dressing it because plate is easier to wash than a cutting board. This is the smallest chicken I have ever seen in my life. While rubbing it, I felt weird for some reason, and quickly (maybe) agreed with vegans. Seriously, rubbing whole chicken felt like massaging a dead body, which essentially it is. Anyways.
Then I rubbed chicken with crushed garlic, dried rosemary and salt. Placed on top of squeezed lemon halves to prevent chicken sitting in a liquid for hours and to flavour the broth. I tied chicken legs, which I consider an extra step, it’s optional. If you don’t, your chicken will come out wide leg spread because it will be that tender and fall off the bone. It is absolutely fine, just looks a bit different.
You don’t need to add any water because this delicious broth will appear during cooking.
Discard the lemons because they are bitter.
Now, I knew from previous experience with slow cooker Thai chicken thighs, I will have a lot of broth. So, I decided to stretch my 2 lb bird further and cook pasta in it. But first, let me tell you a secret to a slow cooker whole chicken with a crispy skin, that looks kinda roasted/rotisserie style.
When you remove the lid after 6-8 hours of cooking chicken, first you will see white-blue chicken, about my skin colour in a month of February. No magic crockpot has been invented yet that can roast food, duh. Anything with a lid steams, boils and cooks food but doesn’t make it crisp. Therefore, chicken that falls off the bone. Whole chicken cooked in a slow cooker is a chicken somewhere in between roasted and boiled. To make that skin crispy, you place chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes. Voila.
So, pasta. You add pasta to the broth and top with boiling water just enough to cover pasta. Somehow, I see it happening this way.
You had a slow cooker cooking chicken all day while at work (that is when programmable slow cooker comes in handy). Then you get home and remove chicken from the slow cooker. Add pasta, cover and you have 25 minutes to change clothes, ask kids about their day, kiss your husband all while pasta is cooking. Quickly broil chicken and tadah. Dinner is served.
2 cups of dry pasta was enough for 3 boys. I didn’t eat pasta. You can add more, no problem. I didn’t because my chicken was tiny. You can use fresh rosemary, mine is covered under snow right now. Boil water in a kettle. I always add boiling water to any recipe calling for water because it cuts back on cooking time.
That is it. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Pasta
- 2 lbs whole chicken*
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 medium lemon
- 2 cups whole wheat pasta
- Boiling water
- Rinse chicken with cold water and drain well. Place on a large plate (cutting board) and squeeze lemon juice all around outside and inside. Rub with garlic, then a mixture of rosemary and salt. Tie the legs with twine (optionally for good looks).
- In a bottom of a large slow cooker, place lemon half cut side down. Place chicken on top, cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.
- Using two large spoons, carefully transfer chicken into baking dish and discard lemon. To the liquid in the slow cooker, add a pinch of salt, pasta and enough boiling water to cover pasta. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
- Place chicken under broiler for about 5 minutes or until nice and golden. Stir pasta, cut chicken and serve hot.
*I happened to have extremely small chicken on hand. Double ingredients for 4-5 lbs average whole chicken.