This is my absolute favorite kind of slow cooker recipe — one that takes less than five minutes to pull together and then rewards you with a delicious, healthy dinner at the end of the day. These burrito bowls are full of chili-spiced brown rice, black beans, corn, and yes, tender bites of shredded chicken. Everything gets cooked right in the pot, so all you need to do is dish yourself a bowl and sprinkle with cheese.
I usually do this recipe in two stages. First, I get the chicken going with some broth and diced tomatoes, and then I add the rice, beans, and corn midway through cooking. This ensures that everything finishes cooking at the same time and the beans don't get too mushy. If I'm going to be gone for a while and won't be home to add the rice, I just leave it out of the slow cooker and cook it separately on the stovetop just before serving. It dirties one more pot, but it gives me some flexibility with my schedule.
The first few times you make this, pay special attention to the rice. I like using brown rice here because it holds its shape better over longer cooking, but it can be a bit hard to judge exactly when it will be done. I use a basic grocery-store brand of rice and it typically finishes cooking in 3 1/2 hours on low in this recipe; whichever brand or variety you use, I suggest checking it after about 2 1/2 hours to see how quickly it's cooking and if it needs more liquid. (Speaking of liquid, you'll get some from the canned tomatoes, so you won't need to add as much broth as you normally would if you were cooking the rice by itself. Even so, use your best judgement if you think more or less liquid is needed.)
I use my small three-quart slow cooker for this recipe. It's just big enough to fit everything at once and give the rice plenty of room to expand as it cooks. If you have a larger slow cooker, I'd suggest doubling the recipe and freezing half for other meals.
One of the best things about this recipe, aside from how easy it is to make, is the way all the flavors and ingredients mingle during cooking. The chicken cooks in a tomato-rich, cumin-spiked broth, which then gets absorbed by the rice later on. Every bite ends up deeply seasoned and fragrant with spices.
Eat it in a bowl with slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream, or roll it up in a burrito for lunch. Either way, it's a win. This simple slow-cooker meal has more than earned its spot in my regular lineup.