The first time I made this for dinner it took hours of chopping, dicing, and fussing before I finally called it quits. Luckily, it was so delicious that it ended up being totally worth it. Today, I’ve created some shortcuts to make this prep a cinch while still retaining the ooey gooey comfort-food goodness of this dish. Enjoy this on a snowy winter day, a freakishly hot July afternoon or really anytime!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, minced (Just kidding! Throw those puppies in the food processor until fine)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (Food processor or garlic press is your friend here)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard (Alternatively, I used about a tablespoon of wet, course-grain mustard)
- 1/2 can cream of chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 cups rice or pasta
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until onions are soft and lightly brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in flour and cook for one minute, don’t panic when your onion mixture begins to tighten up. Whisk in broth to add some liquid back to your now sticky onions. Pull some smooth jazz moves and whisk out any lumps and bumps baby. Transfer your onion mixture to the slow cooker.
3. Once your onion mixture is in the slow cooker, add the milk, mustard and cream of chicken. Stir until mixed, see picture below.
4. Nestle your chicken thighs in under the sauce. Be sure that the thighs are covered completely but not jammed onto the bottom or squished against each other. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low.
5. While your chicken is cooking in its creamy onion bath, slice up some broccoli. Cut all the florets into approximately 1 inch pieces, making sure that the larger pieces are about the same size. Pop some salt and pepper on those and saute them in olive oil a clean pan until lightly browned.
6. Break up chicken into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon. Stir in rice or pasta, cheddar, Parmesan and about a teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Cover again and cook on high for abut 20 minutes or until your rice/pasta is soft.
7. While you are waiting, heat the butter in a skillet until melted. Add breadcrumbs and saute on medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes until they begin to brown. Stir very frequently during this process to avoid scorching your crumbs, Hansel and Gretel would not approve. Once golden and awesome looking, pull crumbs and put them in a bowl, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top.
8. Stir cooked broccoli into your chicken mixture and cook, covered, on high for about 5 minutes, just to heat the broccoli and bring all the flavors together (see first picture).