Confession: I had never used a slow cooker until I developed this recipe. Yes, it feels almost un-American to say, but it’s the truth. If you don’t grow up in a home where a slow cooker sits comfortably on the kitchen counter (my mom, Penny, has never owned one in her life), what are the odds that you’d ever switch on a slow cooker? It took me more than two decades of cooking to finally be curious enough to try one and now I can sincerely say, I get it.
The “set-it-and-forget-it” slogan says it all—almost. I guess I was afraid of the always-possible mush factor and I didn’t exactly want shredded chicken. With a bit of trial and error, I realized that sauteing before adding to the slow cooker and timing exactly when I stir in particular ingredients makes a big difference in the finished meal.
What’s your favorite meal to make in your slow cooker?
Chicken Divan With Mustard Crumb Crunch
This recipe is featured in the latest issue of Easy Eats magazine. Go ahead and swap crushed baked potato chips for the mustard crumbs, if you like.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
¼ cup Silvana’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour or your favorite gluten-free flour blend
1½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cups nondairy creamer or heavy cream
1 tablespoon 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
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
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 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 (or measures 170º on a thermometer) and the rice is tender, about 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the rice cereal crumbs, mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the cereal crumb mixture and toast, about 2 minutes.
Prep Time: 16 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 31 minutes
(Photo by: Stephen Scott Gross )