Crock-pot® chicken and rice is a relatively simple dish that can include minimal ingredients, or be made more elaborate. Popular among busy families and households, in its basic form, it is a mix of chicken, rice, and a creamy sauce. To this base, several different vegetables and spices can be added to enhance the flavor. All of the ingredients are cooked for a long period of time in a slow cooker, and then often served straight out of the pot. Depending on preference, the rice may be cooked on the stovetop, with the creamy chicken mixture poured over top of the rice upon serving.
Families and households that typically come home right at mealtime often turn to Crock-pot® chicken and rice, among other slow cooker recipes, to get food on the table quickly. This dish is easily thrown together first thing in the morning, and can be left to cook all day until suppertime. Certain slow cookers even have a timer built-in, which can allow the Crock-pot® chicken and rice for a specified amount of time. Then, the pot will automatically switch to a warm setting, keeping the dish at a safe, hot temperature without cooking it any further.
This dish is started with boneless, skinless chicken meat, either dark or white, which is placed in the slow cooker. Any number of larger vegetables, such as onions, carrots, or celery are placed on top of the chicken. The initial dish is then topped off with a creamy sauce. In most cases, creamy condensed canned soup is used for this step, although those looking to limit their salt intake or those who want to make the dish healthier can prepare a basic béchamel sauce on the stove, season it to taste, and use this as the liquid in the Crock-pot® chicken and rice.
Several different spices are also often used to change or enhance a basic Crock-pot® chicken and rice dish. It can be made spicy with the addition of chili powder or numerous types of pepper. Tomatoes, oregano, and parsley can also be added for an Italian flair, and curry powder and cinnamon can turn the Crock-pot® chicken and rice into a unique version of curry. The spices used are left up to the cook, and the basic dish is typically bland enough to be suitable to any number of ingredients and flavors, depending on the type of condensed soup or homemade sauce used in the dish.
Once the initial ingredients are placed in the slow cooker, the entire dish is cooked over low heat for six to eight hours. At this point, the Crock-pot® chicken and rice can go in several different directions. Cooked rice and cheese can be added, along with a selection of canned or frozen vegetables, and the entire dish is cooked together until combined, usually for one to two hours. Despite this, those who prefer firmer rice will typically cook the rice on the side, and use the contents of the slow cooker to top off the rice when serving.