1/2cupfreshly grated sharp cheddar cheesedivided (I love white cheddar for this)
Chopped fresh parsleyoptional for serving
Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the rice, carrots, shallot, and Dijon mustard, and stir to combine. Arrange the chicken breasts on top, then sprinkle with the garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Stir the rice, vegetables, and broth, then re-cover and continue cooking on high until the rice is tender, about 1 additional hour.**
Uncover and stir in the peas and Greek yogurt. Dice the chicken and stir it in with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, then re-cover and cook for a few additional minutes on high until the cheese is melted. Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh parsley as desired.
*I do not recommend using any other kind of rice or grain for this recipe other than long-grain brown rice, as the cooking times and liquid ratios will vary.
I also cannot recommend cooking this on low, as my attempts to cook the rice on low resulted in wet, mushy rice. If you do have success making it on low heat, I'd love to hear about it!
**Please note, the cook time (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for the chicken + 1 additional hour for the rice and vegetables) listed can vary depending upon your slow cooker. Mine consistently finishes in this time, but others have reported needing longer for the rice. Further, older rice can take longer to cook. Use your best judgment depending on your slow cooker model. If it is your first time making the recipe, you may want to build in extra "buffer time" just in case your slow cooker doesn't get as hot as mine and others who see similar cook times.
As written, the rice does come out a little more mushy than it would if cooked on the stove or in a rice cooker. It’s a necessary evil with the ease of a slow cooker, so just be prepared (we still loved it!).
Update 4/11/19: Updated the amount of chicken broth because a few people reported having issues with the rice coming out crunchy. I have never had this problem and have made it successfully several times with the original 2 1/2 cups chicken broth. If this is your first time making this recipe, since slow cookers vary a lot, I suggest building in extra time in case your rice takes longer than mine does. Further, older rice can take longer to cook than newer rice.
TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken and rice in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. Add a splash of broth, milk, or water to keep it from drying out.
TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.