creamy basil chicken


2   cups sliced mushrooms
2   medium red and/or yellow sweet peppers, cut into strips
1   large onion, sliced
4   ounces cooked bacon, chopped
8   cloves garlic, minced
3   tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
8   skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (2-1/2 to 3 lb.)
1   cup chicken broth
1/4  cup dry white wine or vermouth
1   pound asparagus spears
1/3  cup whipping cream
1/2  cup plus 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil
2   cups hot cooked orzo pasta
2   tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


1. In 5- or 6-quart slow cooker stir together mushrooms, sweet peppers, onion, bacon, and garlic. Sprinkle with tapioca. Place chicken on top of mixture in cooker. Pour broth and wine over all.
2. Cover; cook on high-heat setting 3 to 3-1/2 hours or low-heat setting 6 to 7 hours.
3. Meanwhile, snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in asparagus, cream, and the 1/2 cup fresh basil. Cover; cook 30 minutes more.
4. Reserve four chicken breast halves to prepare Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder; store as directed below.* Serve remaining chicken, vegetables, and sauce with orzo. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings plus additional chicken for Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder.

* To store chicken breast halves, wrap tightly and refrigerate up to 3 days.

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