It's been so chilly and rainy lately that I've been using my slow cooker A LOT. The warmth and fantastic smells waft through the house and just make it seem cozy. Plus, there's nothing like coming home after a busy day and having dinner just waiting for you! It's perfect for new moms, moms who work outside the home, and those who spend all day shuttling their kids to school and activities and playdates. So, basically, if you don't have a crockpot, you should get one. I have an inexpensive one (plus I used a 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupon...boo-yah!) and it works great.
My husband loves pulled chicken. Loves it. And it's perfect for cooking low and slow in the crockpot. Most recipes call for cooking the chicken in BBQ sauce or chicken stock (or a combination of the two). But you know I always have to add veggies to everything I make, right? I wanted to add them in a way that didn't alter that amazing texture of pulled meat. So, I decided to add grated veggies right into the sauce: they add moisture, flavor, fiber, and antioxidants; they just melt into the sauce—you'd never even know they're there! Perfect for the veggie-phobes in your life.
You can use any barbecue sauce you like. If you want to make a homemade version, check out this one from my friend Ann over at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen. I actually used a clean (no HFCS, MSG, artificial colors or any other yucky ingredients) sauce that I won in a contest: Outta the Park Original BBQ Sauce. It is tangy and peppery, with a good amount of heat. If you use a sweet and thick sauce, you may want to adjust the seasonings a bit (maybe cut the honey); just sample the sauce before adding to the slow cooker and adjust to your tastes.
- 1 large onion, quartered and sliced thin
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 2 celery stalks, grated
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 1 large apple (with skin), grated
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or bottled)
- 2T honey
- 2T spicy brown mustard
- 1T apple cider vinegar
- 1T worcestershire sauce
- salt, to taste
Place the chicken thighs on top of the bed of veggies. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the chicken, covering completely.
Cook on low for five to seven hours. When the chicken is falling-apart tender (I do mine at about the six-hour mark), remove the chicken to a plate and shred, using two forks. Return the chicken to the crockpot for about another half hour. I also vented the lid on my slow cooker so that the sauce could cook down a bit.
I served it on whole wheat buns (helps absorb the juicy sauce!). I quite like putting sliced red onions and avocado on mine—I love the creamy, cool crunch!
UPDATE: Outta the Park BBQ Sauce featured our recipe on its blog, with a very nice write-up!