Here’s a unique spin on something similar to a Jambalaya. It’s basically an all-in-one-pot rice meal, with meat and vegetable sides just like most other recipes come with. I created this recipe thinking of nothing but a smoky flavor in the end hence my choice of ingredients – bacon, cajun spice, and bell peppers. You could certainly reach for different components if you’re thinking of a totally different flavor profile.
Get all the ingredients ready. Again, the choice of cuts would totally depend on the cooking time you’ll need if you want everything to cook at the same time. You can, of course, adjust by getting some ingredients cooking ahead of the others, but for me, that takes some convenience out of a one-pot preparation which I like to leave to cook on its own while I do something else.
It’s my first time working with corn rice so I had no idea how long it’ll cook in the crockpot. However, I’ve learned, that white rice cooks in about an hour so I’m guessing corn rice won’t get too far from that.
Given only that much time, I knew I can’t work with ingredients that take longer to cook. Vegetables would generally be fine but the chicken definitely had to be boneless and cut into smaller pieces.
Give the chicken a liberal seasoning of salt and cajun spice. No need to get them marinating for longer as we’ve cut them into small strips. Here’s where you can begin adding new flavors to this meal. A teriyaki marinade perhaps, or some piri-piri spice would also turn out excellent.
Start your skillet by rendering the fat off your bacon. This’ll allow all those smoky flavors to come out in your rice dish. Also, you’ll be needing less additional oil as bacon has much fat in it already.
The bacon doesn’t have to crisp-up. Once you see some of its fat in your skillet, it’s time to get the chicken in for some searing. You’ll get a wonderful crust on your chicken if you allow the cajun spice caramelize a bit.
Don’t get the chicken fully cooked as it’ll continue cooking in the pot. Some color would do. Add in the onions and bell peppers next and sautee them for about a minute on high heat. This would get them to give off a totally different sweet and smoky flavor.
Get your slow cooker ready. I’m using my favorite slow cooker, the Frigidaire Professional. Coat the base and sides with some non-stick cooking spray just to make sure nothing sticks and scorches.
Add in everything in the skillet, the corn rice, bay leaves, and chicken stock. For this attempt, I’ve boiled the stock before adding it into the pot. Haven’t proven so, but I think that beginning with cold stock would soak the rice too long before it actually starts to cook, causing it to end up mushy.
Cover the pot and leave it to cook for about an hour on a high heat setting. I advise that you start checking on the rice periodically starting the 4o minute mark. I also would not advise cooking rice or pasta on a low setting for the same reason of trying not to get them to soak in liquid for too long.