In the 1960s, my parents -- like the parents of all of my friends -- entertained by hosting bridge parties. Out came the card tables and the bowls of Chex mix, the cocktails and rumaki. Occasionally, though, the parties involved dinner, and on those occasions, my mother pulled out her one and only "party" dish, baked chicken and rice casserole with onions and mushrooms. It sounds rather ordinary, I know, but in fact it met the test for great party food: you had to make it in advance, and it was so good that people didn't mind eating it again and again. I haven't had that casserole in many years, but the taste memory stayed with me, and I decided to adapt it for the slow cooker. My mother used chicken pieces on the bone; I went with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, for less fat in the finished dish. In the oven, the onions get a bit browned; I began by caramelizing the onions in the slow cooker before adding the rest of the ingredients. Rice isn't easy to get right in the slow cooker; I substituted converted rice and added it with the chicken. All in all, I loved this recreation of my mother's best dish. If only I'd learned to play bridge.
Slow cooker chicken and rice casserole
4 medium onions, cut into large dice
2 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into large cubes
1 cup converted rice
2 cups chicken stock (I use store-bought)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (white button or cremini, or a mix)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Spray the inside of a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the onions and olive oil, and stir. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours.
Stir in the chicken, rice and chicken stock. Continue cooking on HIGH for 1 hour.
Then, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook on HIGH for 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya
Slow cooker chicken in peanut and chile sauce
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Chicken paella with slow-roasted tomatoes
Three mushroom risotto
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Julia Child's soubise, from Kitchen Parade
Brown rice casserole with leftover turkey (or chicken), mushrooms, sour cream, cheese, and thyme, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken and rice chile verde, from Cooking On the Side
Cheesy chicken and wild rice casserole, from Picky Palate
Mushroom and brown rice casserole, from Annie's Eats
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