The trouble with slow cookers is that while they certainly deliver on ease, they sometimes disappoint on flavor. It’s the risk you run when you dump a bunch of ingredients in a pot and walk away for much of the day.

So we decided to come up with a slow cooker chicken that packs plenty of sophisticated flavors, yet doesn’t sacrifice the no-nonsense approach we love about slow cooking. We started with chicken thighs, which have richer, deeper flavor than chicken breasts. Then we added lemons, fennel, mushrooms and leek for a braise inspired by the cuisine of southern France.

We also wanted to resolve the other drawback of slow cookers — that the foods cooked in them often lack texture. So we finish the dish with seasoned, toasted breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch.