I know, I know… it’s the middle of summer (or at least, it’s supposed to be…) and I’m giving you a slow cooker recipe. Pfft! You’re probably like: What’s up with that, Ms. THF?
Well, if there’s one thing I like about the slow cooker it’s that it doesn’t generate a whole lot of heat so it doesn’t warm up the entire house and it doesn’t have you sweating bullets, standing next to a hot stove for hours. Plus, it allows you to prepare dishes that, despite being extremely comforting, still have a very light and refreshing feel to them.
Looking at this Lemon & Artichoke Chicken, some of you may kind of be reminded of a similar recipe that I posted not so long ago, and you would be absolutely right.
I was indeed super inspired by Josh’s Moroccan Chicken which I’d recently made, only I completely modified the flavor profile this time and adapted the recipe for the slow cooker. No way I was firing up the oven on such a hot and humid day!
Just like last time, I elected to make a great big batch and cooked 2 whole chickens. You see, when making recipes that demand a little bit more time and effort such as this one, I’d rather err on the side of generosity and make LOTS, that way I get to enjoy the same great taste through leftovers without putting in any of the effort!
I strongly suggest that you do the exact same thing. Trust me, this slow cooker chicken is so tasty, the whole family will be fighting for the leftovers!
If you can, I advise you to set your chicken to brine the previous night in a solution consisting of 8 cups of water, 1/4 cup of salt, the juice of 2 lemons and the shells of those 2 lemons. You don’t even need to boil this or anything. Just mix everything together and throw that in the fridge for the night.
While this is not absolutely mandatory, I guarantee you that it will make your chicken SO MUCH tastier and juicier, too!
Small effort, BIG PAYOFF!
You then want to cut each of your chickens into 10 pieces: bone-in breasts cut in half crosswise, legs, thighs, and wings. Pat these dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Another key step to ensure that you get the most flavor out of your chicken is to brown it really nice and good before you add it to your slow cooker. You want that skin to become super crispy and a lovely shade of golden.
To do that, set a large skillet over high heat and melt the ghee. Add the pieces of chicken, skin side down first and only a few at a time, being mindful not to overcrowd the pan. Air needs to be able to circulate around the pieces of chicken.
Let the chicken cook undisturbed until a beautiful golden crust forms, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Remove the cooked pieces of chicken to the bowl of your slow cooker as soon as they are done cooking.
Once all the pieces of chicken have been removed, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion starts to soften and turns translucent.
You then want to add your chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest…
…and don’t forget the spice blend. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan nice and good to detach every little last bit of flavor.
Bring the liquid to a simmer then pour it right over the cooked chicken.
Just look at that beautiful bright yellow color. It already smells SOOO good!
Now this will need to cook on high for a total of 5 hours or on low for 7 hours.
This will leave you with plenty of time to prep the rest of your ingredients… which should take you the better part of 5 minutes! Safe to assume you can wait a bit! Or prep them now and place them in the fridge until ready to use, why not?
45 minutes to an hour before the end of your scheduled cooking time, add the sliced lemons, artichoke hearts and caperberries. If you can’t find caperberries, you could very well use large capers instead. But I strongly suggest you make an extra effort to find them caperberries. Ever tasted them? Oh my goodness, they’re amazing. They’re like a cross between a green olive and a handful of capers, with the addition of super cool little seeds that crack and pop under your teeth. LOVE!
So anyways, just throw all of these right on top, no need to even mix them in.
When everything is good and cooked, remove the chicken, lemon slices, artichoke hearts and caperberries to a large shallow bowl or plate and place them in a low temperature oven to keep them warm while you’re working on the “gravy”.
What you want to do now is strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve directly into a medium saucepan.
Dilute the tapioca flour in 2 tablespoons of water and pour that into the simmering stock. Bring back to a quick boil and cook for about one minute, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens.
Pour that sauce over the chicken and serve.
And in case you are wondering, yes, you can eat the lemon too! It does become quite soft and loses a lot of its bitterness in the cooking process. Quite yummy, if you ask me!
Can you see how juicy and moist and tender that chicken is? It falls right off the bone. And the flavor on this dish. UNREAL!
If you have to know the truth, I had no family to share this with and no competition to fight over the leftovers. Yet, I ate the whole thing over the course of a few days and never got tired of it. In fact, I felt a little bit sad when I ate the last of it…
And now, I feel I want to make another batch…
Yeah. It’s that good, I swear!