2 cups turkey stock
1 sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Muntok white peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
8 oz. package of whole baby bella mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes
Pour the turkey stock into a large crock pot. Turn the pot on High and put the lid on it.
Peel the onion and coarsely chop it. Put the chopped onion into the crock pot.
Into a mortar, place 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon Muntok white peppercorns, 1/8 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Grind with mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. (If there are giblets: remove them, rinse them, and throw them into the crock pot.) Rub about three quarters of the spice blend onto the chicken. Carefully lower the chicken into the crock pot.
Scrub the baby potatoes. Gently wash the baby bella mushrooms. Pack them into the crock pot around the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining spice blend over the vegetables. Leave the covered crock pot to cook for about two hours.
Carefully ladle some broth over the top of the chicken. Move the vegetables around so that any that were exposed will be submerged. The chicken and vegetables will exude more juices over time; if there isn’t enough, add a little bit of water.
Put the lid back on the crock pot and continue to cook for another two to three hours; time will vary depending on chicken weight and your crock pot’s power. About once an hour, move the vegetables around. The chicken will be done when its juices run clear and the meat flakes easily. Potatoes should be tender when pierced with a fork.
If you don’t have turkey stock, use a can or two of chicken stock or chicken broth instead. I made turkey stock, and it’s wonderful, so I’m using it.
The white peppercorns are important in this recipe. You could substitute black peppercorns, but that would lose the delicate “white” flavor of the recipe – the white peppercorns blend marvelously with the coriander and thyme. Plain salt instead of sea salt would be okay, but use less; fine table salt packs more densely than coarse grains.
Baby bella mushrooms are immature portabellas, and they’re not cheap unless you get lucky and find them on sale. Plain button mushrooms would work just fine.