Recipe: $7.50 ish
Per Serving: $1.25
The title of this post - it's a misnomer! No, you can’t roast something without fire, but you CAN make an entire chicken in a rice cooker, and it can be damn delicious. If you want to get really fancy, sure, you can follow Buzzfeed's advice and make Thomas Keller's super simple recipe for The Ultimate Roasted Chicken. I think it is a good idea, personally, but I am without an oven, so I'm really very, very excited about my rice cooker chicken.
I’ve always loved 100 Days Of Real Food’s Slow Cooker Chicken, and it became my go-to method for "rotisserie” chicken, especially in summer. Now that we're a bazillion miles away from our slow cooker (you're welcome, Blair!), I decided to take the same basic idea and apply it to the rice cooker. And with great success! Also...yes, this picture captures exactly how much counter space we have in our Japanese kitchen.
This is a really great recipe for college students who like to cook, but are only allowed a rice cooker, or for those who don't want to (or can't) use their oven. The rice cooker is MAGICAL.
As for pricing, I know a whole chicken can range from $1 a pound to $5.99 a pound, depending on brands, quality, free range/cage-free/pasturedness, etc. Just go for whatever you can afford. I don’t recommend major industrial brands like Tyson and Perdue, but I also know $6 a pound for chicken is way over budget for most of us. When in doubt, buy a whole chicken from Trader Joe’s for around $2.50 a pound.
If you’re here in Japan, I think the chicken in general is decent quality, and I found this one for about 103 yen per 100 grams. I bought it at 9:30pm so it was 15% off! About $6.50 for a sizable mound of simple protein.
I always slice off the breasts, then pull apart the dark meat and remaining bits and pieces. The skin gets toasted (we have a fish griller in our cooktop), and the remaining weirdo pieces go straight into a pot for the best ever homemade broth cubes.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it is just as easy as the slow cooker version, but so much faster! As long as I can find whole chickens, I plan to play around with flavors and marinades using this godsend of an appliance. This basic rosemary chicken rub is generally my go-to (sometimes with mustard also), but I think a soy glaze would be delicious. Stay tuned people. Until then, eat mor chikin.
UPDATE JANUARY 2016: I've started changing things up in the rice cooker chicken game! For the BEST flavor, I recommend briefly searing the chicken on each side (on the stove) before placing it in the rice cooker. The recipe below has been updated to reflect these changes.
Recipes for shredded chicken: Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Chicken with Dried Figs & Mashed Potatoes, Leftovers Frittata with Chicken & Sweet Potato. And be sure to use the bones, scraps, and garlic to make homemade chicken broth/stock!
Easy Whole Roasted Chicken (in the Rice Cooker)
- 1 small chicken 800 grams – or 1.5-2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1-2 lemon wedges
- 4 cloves garlic
- First, mix together the dry seasonings: rosemary, salt, pepper, and chili powder. On a cutting board, smash the garlic with the flat side of a knife to break it into 2-3 pieces.
- Slide your fingers under the skin and pull it up, then rub the garlic and more seasonings under the skin, and stretch it back over to cover the breast/legs, etc.
- OPTIONAL: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on each side for about 5-8 minutes, or until the skin has darkened and is a little crispy. Proceed to next step.
- Stare at your chicken without getting intimidated. Then shove the lemon and the remaining garlic into the cavity (in the bum).
- Rub any remaining seasonings around the chicken, and shove into the rice cooker. If your chicken is a bit big, you can break the bones and cavity (sorry) to make it fit in the rice cooker.
- Add ¼ cup water to the rice cooker. Turn it on the regular setting and wait!
- It depends on your rice cooker, but you may need to cook this for 2-3 rounds. In general, you’re cooking it for at least 1 hour. The first time, it took three 30-minute rounds for mine to finish, but normally it takes just two 30-minute rounds. (You might have to turn your rice cooker off for 2 minutes before beginning each additional round.) Check it for doneness by pulling the leg away from the body and looking for pink. The liquid should run clear.
Also - If you have a toaster oven or a fish grill, carefully remove the skin from the chicken and place it on parchment paper. Toast it in the toaster oven or grill for about 5 minutes for perfectly crispy skin! IF YOU OVERCOOK or UNDERCOOK IT: You can save it! I shred the chicken and lightly simmer it in (homemade) chicken broth for just a couple of minutes. It comes back to life, regardless of whether it was over or undercooked. Then I store the chicken in the juices/broth so it can absorb even more moisture & flavor.