Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes 🙂 Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.