I have a love/hate relationship with my slow cooker. In theory, it sounds awesome. You toss in a bunch of things, go about your day and when you come home, you have a perfectly cooked masterpiece, ready for consumption. But here’s my beef with this contraption ~ if you don’t have enough liquid in there, things can go south very quickly. Unlike the oven, where you can make minor adjustments in temperature, you are stuck with two options – high or low – and that can be problematic, especially when you are dealing with something that can dry out easily, like chicken.
Here in the south, barbecue is like a form of art. Pulled pork, among other things, is one specialty that you’ll frequently find on menus. To lighten things up a little bit at home, I wanted to make a barbecue pulled chicken dish that is reminiscent of pulled pork but a little healthier. To minimize the dry-out issue, I made sure that there is plenty of liquid in this recipe for the chicken to simmer in. While we generally prefer light meat, I used a mix of chicken thighs and breasts ~ the chicken thighs add flavor to the sauce and don’t dry out as quickly as the breasts do.
This honeyed, tomato-based sauce is a great balance of savory and sweet. The spice level here is mild, but if you want more of a kick, you could certainly add some paprika and/or chipotle chiles. Served over brown rice or on a mini slider bun, this is the perfect easy, no-brainer summer meal.
Is there already talk of football in your house? Because there is in mine. It starts earlier and earlier every year. Ladies, we better enjoy our quiet Saturdays while we have them (and Thursdays and Sundays and Monday nights. . . .). My tendency to max out on football notwithstanding, I did have to add in a little University of South Carolina pride here. I’m a Gamecock at heart. Oh and this could be a pretty awesome tailgate recipe too. . . just sayin’. . .
Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Recipe
Serves: 4 people
1 15-ounce can reduced-sodium tomato sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained (mild if you don’t like spice)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/3 cup chicken broth
1.5 pounds chicken, trimmed (I used 2 breasts and 3 thighs, boneless and skinless)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Stir tomato sauce, vinegar, chiles, honey, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, thyme, parsley and chicken broth in slow cooker. Add chicken, onion and garlic and stir to combine. Cook on low until chicken is cooked through, about 4 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return chicken to the sauce and stir. Cook for 20 more minutes on low to allow flavors to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Recipe adapted from The Simple Art of Eating Well Cookbook