I couldn't find this recipe from my favorite slow cooker cookbook anywhere on the Internet, and while I usually just find one that's similar enough to share I didn't want to risk it with this one. I've had too many bad casseroles in my life (sorry Mom, but you have to admit they were always bland, sticky, mushy, high calorie/fat messes!), but the reason I wanted to try this one is because of the relatively unique mix of ingredients and seasonings that made me confident it would be delicious and healthy.
Adapted from the cookbook "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever"
¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds assorted mushrooms (button, cremini, shitake, trumpet, and oyster) coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Marsala wine
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked wild rice
Coat the insert of a slow cooker (5-quarts minimum size) with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté until the mushrooms begin to turn golden, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the Marsala wine, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
Put all of the remaining ingredients, except the wild rice, into the slow-cooker. Add the cooled mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, until the casserole is cooked through. Remove the cover, mix in the rice and cook until the rice is heated and the liquid is absorbed...another 30-60 minutes.
If you want to skip the slow cooker entirely, you can make this a 1-pot meal. Just mix everything (including the wild rice) together and pop in the oven at 350°F for 60-90 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of parsley to taste. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!