This has been a hectic stretch of the year. Gatherings, parties, reunions, run-ins. I feel—as I am sure many of you do too—like I just finished a fun-marathon in which I had to sprint the whole way. Cooking all too often feels like a series of sprints as well. Peeling, washing, chopping, stirring, sautéing. Most of the time I can’t help but try and rush through the motions to get to the end goal.
That’s why the slow cooker is one of my favorite kitchen tools. As the name indicates, you cannot speed up the process. There is no flipping too soon or stirring too frequently. Throw ingredients in, cover with a lid and choose between the slow cooker's only two settings: low or high. Nothing more to do and in four to eight hours, dinner is served.
But really, what more could you ask for? A slow cooker gives you both time to relax and delicious food. This past Sunday, I made an amazing batch of pulled chicken in my slow cooker. Served on soft Kaiser rolls and paired with a tangy red cabbage salad for crunch, this incredibly flavorful and moist chicken made me a new devotee of slow cooking.
Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 4 to 6
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt + more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper + more to taste
1-2 pound chicken breasts
8-10 Kaiser rolls
1. Stir together ketchup, sugar, barbecue sauce, garlic, sage, oregano, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl until blended.
2. Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with sauce. Cover, and cook on low for about 8 hours (or on high for 6 hours). About 4 hours into cooking, start to pull chicken apart using a fork. The chicken should start to feel quite tender at this point but not completely falling apart at the touch. Cover slow cooker with lid and repeat process at about 6 hours and again before serving until chicken is fully shredded.
3. Spoon chicken onto roll and pair with a side of cabbage.
Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw
1 to 2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Italian dressings + more to taste
2 teaspoons coarse salt + more to taste.
1. In a large bowl, toss shredded red cabbage with cider vinegar, Italian dressing, and salt. Let stand at least 30 minutes but tastes best prepared a few hours before serving.