Slow cooker rice? I was skeptical too. There are a few tricks:
- you need to use whole grain, brown rice – you know the kind that says it only takes 30 minutes on the bag, but in reality it takes an hour
- this isn’t a set it and forget it for 8 hours type of slow cooker recipe, but a set it and forget it for 3 hours recipe
I know I will get some criticism for this, especially from those closet to me, but I really don’t like slow cookers. I like the idea of slow cookers, but when push comes to shove, they’re not versatile enough for daily use. They are the perfect tool for workday dinners, but I really only use them for soup or chili. And there is a limit to how many days of the week I can eat chili (that limit is 3). I’ve yet to experiment with pasta in the slow cooker – call me dubious, but I already think the result is an indistinguishable bowlful of mush.
Josh and I joined the Y and started going a couple of nights a week. We aren’t doing anything crazy, just trying to be a little more active. But with work, those gym days turn into long days away from home. So, it’s gotten me thinking about expanding my slow cooker repertoire.
So far, this recipe for Slow Cooker Rice is my favorite slow cooker creation since opening my mind to the possibilities one can offer.
Here are a few notes about this recipe:
- This recipe for Slow Cooker Rice is designed to be made specifically in a slow cooker. You aren’t going to get the same result by using a different cooking method. Check out this post for some basic tips for using a slow cooker, especially if you’re translating a traditional recipe for use in a slow cooker.
- Apples in savory dishes is a #gamechanger. My mom has always put green apple in her stuffing, but I’ve just recently started adding it to other dishes. The tartness and sweetness offer such a pleasant contrast to some of the rich textures and flavors in a lot of savory dishes.
Slow Cooker Holiday Rice
- 1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 apple*, diced
- 2 cups whole grain, brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 3 3/4 cups veggie broth or water
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- *Optional*: 1/2 cup craisins
- Combine the squash, onion, apple, rice, salt, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, ground mustard, liquid smoke, and craisins (if using) in a slow cooker. Stir well to mix all the ingredients.
- Add the veggie broth and stir to combine.
- Set the slow cooker to high, and let cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You’ll be able to tell that the rice is done when the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Turn off heat or lower heat to warm, depending on when you are going to serve. Add the vinegar and olive oil, and stir.
- Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs right before serving.
*Green apples are my preferred option, but any will work.