Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

This delicious and easy recipe is inspired by the Harcombe Diet cookbook. For any of you who are not familiar with the Harcombe Diet, it's established by the experiences and research of Zoe Harcombe, a nutritionist from the UK.  She is an author, obesity researcher and nutritionist graduated from Cambridge University. This is what I take most from her books and diet research; eat a clean diet by limiting processed foods, sugar, and carbs, exactly what I want my family to experience.

This is one of my favorite recipes from her Harcombe Diet recipe book. I have tweaked it to fit my busy lifestyle, by transferring the cooking process from the oven to the slow cooker. My family enjoys this recipe, too! Another great perk about this recipe; it's simple and so are the ingredients.

one whole chicken
6-8 cloves garlic
2 whole lemons
salt and black pepper
Olive oil
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth

Add two cups of chicken stock to your slow cooker. After removing giblets, stuff 1/2 the garlic cloves and lemons inside the chicken. My bird is from a local producer, Maxwell Colony. I feel the quality of these birds is exceptional! 

I place the bird in the slow cooker upside down so the juices can penetrate the breast meat. To add more flavor to the meat, I drizzle olive oil on top of the skin and in between the skin and meat.as well as half of the garlic cloves. 

Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat all day (8-9 hours) or on high heat for 5-6 hours until the bird is cooked thoroughly. I usually serve with vegetables. This particular meal I served with steamed organic carrots from Azure Standard.

My take on chicken, beef, or vegetable Stock and broth, if you can't understand the ingredient list, don't buy it. I like buying most organic brands because when I read the ingredient list, I can understand every ingredient. When I look at a brand like Swanson's, I find autolyzed yeast extract. What is that? Well, after further research, it turns out to be monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is a form of concentrated salt. Because the kind of MSG we find at the store is processed, it can cause many adverse reactions, including skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures. Since MSG has gained a bad rap because of its ability to cause headaches and migraines, the food market changes MSG's name. Other names used to disguise MSG include autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, mono-potassium glutamate, and textured protein. (www.naturalnews.com)

I once thought that Rachel Ray's broth was safe to use and maybe even healthy for me, until I read about MSG and its other names and forms. Why would food companies choose to use these ingredients? Because MSG can enhance the flavor of low quality foods and reduce production costs. Natural flavoring such as "natural chicken flavoring" is another ingredient I try to avoid. What is that exactly? The Sweet Beet wrote a great article about this same topic and I found it very enlightening. If you have time, hop over to read it.