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Friday, April 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Broccoli Chicken Divan

This recipe is fussy, as slow cooker recipes go. It doesn't really save time, but it does allow for the bulk of preparation to be done several hours ahead of dinner, leaving the cook free for socializing or side dish preparation closer to mealtime. And did I mention how delicious it is?


Slow Cooker Broccoli Chicken Divan 

Source: Slow Cooker Revolution from America's Test Kitchen

3 T vegetable oil
2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh thyme or 1 t dried
3 T all-purpose flour
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
½ c heavy cream
1 teas dry mustard
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
salt and pepper
2 c instant rice
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)
½ c grated Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
12 oz broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 ½ c)
1 recipe Toasted Bread-Crumb Topping (see below)

1. Heat 2 T oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onions, garlic, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir heavy cream and mustard into slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to slow cooker, and coat evenly with sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

3. Break up chicken into bite-size pieces with wooden spoon.  Stir in rice, cheddar, Parmesan, and 1 teas salt, cover, and cook on high until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Microwave broccoli with remaining T oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir softened broccoli into casserole and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with Toasted Bread-Crumb Topping and serve.

Toasted Bread-Crumb Topping
Process 2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into pieces, to coarse crumbs in food processor, about 10 pulses.  Melt 2 T butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bread crumbs to bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Makes about 1 c.

Notes from Betsy: I usually skip the bread crumbs. Also, I've used bone-in skinless chicken thighs instead of boneless. If you do this, just remove the chicken from the crockpot in step 3 and discard the bones before replacing the chicken in the pot.

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