Slow-cooker roast chicken with herby couscous

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I have officially hit middle age. I love my slow cooker. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I’ve never been brilliant at cooking meat. Stews, casseroles, roasts: sometimes the meat stays tough, or looks cooked on the outside and stays raw in middle. And with no rhyme or reason why it’ll work in one recipe and be a disaster in another. With a slow cooker this just doesn’t happen. Pop it in for a few hours and it’s always beautifully tender (you can see it’s pretty much falling off the bone in this picture).
  2. Who knew slow cookers weren’t just for winter stews? My biggest successes are mid-week roasts. Pop a joint or a whole chicken in the slow cooker for the day, crisp it up a bit in your normal oven at the end of cooking, and hey presto, it’s perfect!
  3. The main reason. Time. All mums are busy; Type 1 mums, arguably, need to be even more organised. The beauty of slow cooking a whole chicken is that all you then need to do is prepare a side dish of carbs and count that portion. And not necessarily in the old fashioned meat-and-two-veg kind of way. Here’s a perfect roast chicken with a deliciously fresh, herby couscous that’s just delicious on a late summer evening.

Slow cooker roast chicken (serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

  • A whole, medium-large, free range chicken (about 1.6-2.0 kg/3.5-4.5 lbs)
  • A couple of sticks of celery
  • A couple of carrots
  • Three garlic cloves
  • One lemon
  • One onion
  • A couple of sprigs of rosemary
  • A sprinkling of fresh or dried thyme
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method:

  1. Turn on your slow cooker to low, for 9 hours (this assumes putting it on at 9.00am to be ready at 6.00pm, although it would be ready after 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the chicken).
  2. Wash the celery and carrots, cut into thick wedges and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Peel and crush one clove of garlic and rub it over the chicken. Put the other two unpeeled in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  4. Cut the lemon and onion into quarters. Put one quarter of lemon, and one quarter of onion in the cavity of the chicken, and the others in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  5. Scatter the thyme and rosemary over the top of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker, pop the lid on and leave for 6-9 hours (depending on what time you want to eat). You don’t need to add any water.
  7. At the end of cooking, transfer the chicken to a roasting dish and put it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp the skin.

Herby couscous:

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You get a lot of couscous for very few carbs, so it’s ideal if you want a low carb supper. (For my growing boys who need plenty of carbs, this means they get a big pudding!)

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 320g wholemeal couscous (dry weight)
  • Half a cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • A handful of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
  • A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • A drizzle of rapeseed or olive oil
  • Black pepper to season

Method:

  1. Place the couscous in a large bowl, add 400ml boiling water and stir well
  2. Cover and allow to absorb the water for 5 minutes
  3. Fluff with a fork, add the cucumber, coriander and parsley, and mix well
  4. Pour over the lemon juice and drizzle of oil, and again mix together
  5. Season with black pepper to serve

Carbs:

23g carbs per cooked 100g

(42g per 180g portion)

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