Hearty and delicious, this Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is perfect comfort food. Whether you have a Crock Pot or need to make it on the stove or in the oven, it give a flavoursome bowl. Gluten free and dairy free.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole – Comfort food with little fuss
Sometimes, life calls for comfort food. And when comfort food is needed, one of my ‘go to’ meals is Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole. Whether the weather’s turning cooler or you just feel the need for something warm and nutritious, it hits the spot… Every time. A perfectly delicious, hearty bowl of yumminess.
I love my slow cooker! It has revolutionised meal times at GFHQ. Be it weekdays or weekends, for the family or a gathering of friends… It helps the creation of flavourful and convenient home-cooked meals. No fuss… Just good, healthy sustenance. A little pre-prep (chopping, seasoning and frying off some meats) and then the slow cooker does everything else… So, you can just sit back and look forward to a delicious dinner.
What is a Slow Cooker and is it the same as a ‘Crock Pot’?
A slow cooker is a stand-alone (plug in) appliance that is set to ‘slow-cook’ food (mostly soups, stews, casseroles, etc) using a gentle heat over a few hours. It offers a couple of key advantages… The obvious one is that it allows preparation of meals in the morning, left cooking while at work and ready when you get home. But because it cooks long and slow, it is also one of the best ways to ensure that meat is tender and succulent (however cheap the cut).
Essentially a slow cooker and a Crock Pot do the same job. However, a Crock Pot is designed as a ceramic pot that specifically sits inside the heating unit, with an even heat distribution both under and round the dish. I love that the casserole dish in my Crock Pot is attractive and can be lifted out to serve, without the need to transfer food to an alternative dish.
Choosing a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
While slow cookers vary considerably from one make to another, the key considerations in buying one are likely to be
- How big a capacity do you need (for how many people)?
- What’s the budget?
- Where will it be stored?
- Do you want to also be able to use the ceramic pot on the hob? (Actually, this is a really helpful feature allowing the browning and sealing of meat in advance of the main cook).
- The range of settings for variable cooking times and temperatures.
I went for a sizeable Crock Pot, large enough to feed 6 to 8 with a good set of programmable functions. Actually, mine’s a few years old now, but this is the equivalent currently available.
Can I make Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole without a Crock Pot?
Yes. Absolutely! If you don’t have a slow cooker or Crock Pot, my Chicken Casserole can still be made on the hob or in an oven casserole. You will need a good-sized casserole pot (with a lid) suitable for the route you choose to take. And if making it on the hob, a little extra liquid may be needed. But the casserole will still be delicious either way…
What’s in this Crock Pot Chicken Casserole?
The base of my Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is a flavourful mix of vegetables (onion, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms), cooked in herby stock with a little salty, smoky bacon. The vegetables can of course, be varied and if you want to make it a full-on meal, feel free to add some pieces of waxy potato to the pot.
The chicken is cooked skin-on. It is pre-seasoned with honey, paprika, salt and pepper and heat-sealed before adding to the pot, for a rich, flavoursome head-start. I always use chicken thighs for preference, because they are super-succulent with a good ratio of meat. They are best placed on top of the casserole mix to cook (skin just above the stock)… That way they gain all the benefit of the steam and moisture for tenderness, but maintain a crispier skin.
Enhanced by several hours slow cooking, the meat falls away from the bone and melts in the mouth.
Do I have to use chicken thighs when making Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole?
No. Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole is very flexible. If you don’t want to use thighs, or don’t like chicken skin, it’s fine to vary the cut. If you choose to use chicken breast without skin (either whole or cut into pieces), it is wise to mix in with the vegetables and stock to ensure it cooks super-moist.
Watch out for hidden gluten in the stock if you are Coeliac or gluten-intolerant
For those who need to avoid gluten (particularly if you are Coeliac (Celiac) or allergic), be extra careful to make sure the stock used is gluten free. Stock cubes can be sneaky gluten-carriers and are often made with wheat flour or barley malt. So be sure to check the ingredients to avoid any Cross-Contamination. I usually use either Knorr or Kallo brands. Both are clearly labelled gluten free.
Ready to make my Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole?
You can find my Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole Recipe below. I really hope you love it as much as we do. With the weather turning colder, now’s a good time to give it a go. Don’t forget to let me know what you think with a friendly comment, recipe rating or a social media tag… on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.
Don’t forget too, that we have an amazing selection of gluten free recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist, all easy to browse through in our photographic Gluten Free Recipe Index. We are passionate that all gluten free food we eat is at least as good as any gluten version out there, so you can be certain you won’t find any gritty or ‘sub-standard’ bakes and makes.
And as always… Thank you so much for reading xxx
Other delicious gluten free meals we think you’ll like…
Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole
- chopping board
- sharp vegetable knife
- measuring jug
- Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
- wooden/silicone spoon
- 8 chicken thighs skin on
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 tsp ground paprika smoked or unsmoked
- 8 rashers back bacon
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion cut into sixths
- 2 large yellow or white onions 1 x chopped; 1 x cut into sixths
- 200 g baby carrots washed and trimmed
- 1 large parsnip peeled and cut into short lengths
- 200 g button or closed cup mushrooms left whole or halved dependent on size
- fresh oregano (to taste) finely chopped
- fresh thyme (to taste) finely chopped and reserve some sprigs for the top.
- 200 ml strong vegetable stock Gluten Free – I used 2 stock cubes
- Rub some honey, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of paprika into each chicken skin.
- Heat the oil to medium-high in the casserole for the slow cooker if it can be used on the hob (or in a large skillet if it can’t) and gently seal and brown the outside of the seasoned chicken (about 5 to 8 minutes), turning frequently. Set aside.
- Using the same pan, sauté the bacon and onions for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the carrots, parsnip, and mushrooms and sauté for a further 5 minutes to brown slightly.
- Add the chopped herbs and stir through.
- If you are using a pan separate from the slow cooker, transfer the vegetable-bacon mix to the slow cooker at this point. (Use a little stock to wash round the pan to pick up the juices).
- Pour the stock over the vegetables and lay the chicken right on the top, skin side up.
- Place some sprigs of fresh thyme across the surface and place the lid over.
- Slow cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions for about 3 hours (high) or 6 hours (low).
- Serve with potatoes or rice (or if you want to go ‘low carb’ eat as it is).
© 2019-2021 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist