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Slow-Cooker Southern Chicken and Dirty Rice

Why This Recipe Works

In the South, chicken is often paired with dirty rice—a side dish incorporating cured meats, vegetables, and seasonings that give the rice a “dirty” appearance. We wanted to transform this duo into a scaled-down slow-cooker casserole—we thought the moist environment would give all the robust flavors a chance to meld, for a richer-tasting dish overall. For the chicken, we selected bone-in thighs, which stayed moist even after a few hours of cooking. Onion, bell pepper, and garlic, plus some chili powder and thyme, provided a flavorful backbone, and microwaving the mix with bacon gave it a meaty, smoky depth and richness. Instant rice cooked up perfectly while absorbing the rich flavors of the broth, and, finally, sliced scallion added a touch of color and freshness.

Serves 2
Cooking time:
 4 to 5 hours on low
Slow cooker size: 3½ to 7 quarts

Be sure to use instant rice (sometimes labeled minute rice); traditional rice takes much longer to cook and won't work here.

½ onion, chopped fine
½ red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 celery rib, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
¼ cup chicken broth
4 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 cup instant white rice
1 scallion, sliced thin

1. Microwave onion, bell pepper, celery, bacon, garlic, chili powder, and thyme in bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in broth. Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 5 hours on low.

2. Transfer chicken to plate. Stir rice into slow cooker. Arrange chicken on top of rice, adding any accumulated juices. Cover and cook on high until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to individual plates. Stir scallion into rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve chicken with rice.