Slow-Cooked Chicken, Squash and Rice Stew

Wild rice imbues this homey, slow-cooker stew with an appealing nuttiness. If you prefer your rice fully open, cook the dish for the longer period of time; the chicken will hold up well during extended cooking. If you can’t find boneless, skinless chicken thighs, use bone-in ones but remove the skin.

1 1/2-lb. butternut squash, peeled, cubed (1 inch) (about 3 cups)
1 (8-oz.) pkg. sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved
1 cup cubed Canadian bacon, ham or smoked turkey
1 cup wild Rice
4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Place squash, mushrooms, celery, onion and garlic in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Top with chicken and bacon; sprinkle with rice. Stir in broth, thyme, salt and pepper.

2. Cook 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours on low or until rice is almost tender. Increase heat to high. Combine crème fraîche and cornstarch; stir into mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes or until thickened, chicken is no longer pink in center and rice is tender.

6 (1 3/4-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 395 calories, 14 g total fat (6.5 g saturated fat), 29 g protein, 40.5 g carbohydrate, 80 mg cholesterol, 1175 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

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