I’m a little bit behind the slow cooker revolution. Over the years, my friends and colleagues have nudged me to give it a try, but the commitment required to the large piece of kitchen equipment in my NYC apartment has always prevented me from making the next step. Then, as part of recipe testing for my gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats, I had the chance to play around with a slow cooker for free.
One try and I knew I was in love: While the cooking may be slow, the kitchen prep time is fast. I also didn’t want all of the dishes I made to be stew-like. I conquered that fear with my take on this classic chicken dish. You could use this recipe as a template and easily swap in other proteins and sauces to yield more quick dinners served right out of your slow cooker.
For ingredient substitutions, please see the detailed chart at Gluten-Free 101.
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup nondairy creamer or heavy cream
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups instant rice
Two (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli florets, thawed
½ cup rice cereal crumbs
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, thyme, paprika, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top; stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the broth, creamer and 1 tablespoon of the mustard. Add to the slow cooker.
- Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper; stir into the cream sauce to coat. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir in the rice and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the broccoli; cook until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cereal crumbs, remaining 1½ teaspoons mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the crumb mixture and toast, about 2 minutes.