1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, peppercorns and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir to coat. Add rice and stir to coat. Stir in cranberries. Add broth, orange zest and juice and bring to a boil. (You should have 4 cups/1l of liquid in total. Squeeze the orange juice into a 1 cup/250 ml measure and add broth to make up the 1 cup/250 ml, if necessary.)
2. Spoon half the rice mixture evenly over bottom of prepared slow cooker stoneware. Arrange chicken pieces evenly over top. Cover with remaining rice mixture.
3. Place two clean tea towels, each folded in half (so you will have four layers), over top of stoneware to absorb moisture. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.
4. Topping: In a skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toss until evenly coated. Cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in almonds. Spoon evenly over cooked rice and serve immediately.
Cranberries (along with cherries, blueberries and other red, purple and blue fruits) are particularly good sources of anthocyanins and other antioxidants that protect all cells in the body.
Make Ahead: This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, continue with the recipe.