Tangy, messy barbecue is something I crave every so often. I especially love the contrast of the tender meat with a fresh and crunchy slaw. Winter demands comfort food, and although this fits the bill, there are plenty of fresh vegetables to round it out. First, the barbecue pulled chicken: I made a homemade BBQ sauce (it’s so easy, I promise) and then cooked the meat smothered in sauce in a dutch oven for about 90 minutes until it shredded easily, soaking up the thick sauce in the process. I love making sauces at home because you know exactly what is in them and you can custom to your taste preference. Store bought BBQ sauce definitely works too, though! The Sriracha and Garlic one from Trader Joe’s is one of my favorites. The recipe below is sweet with a little smoky heat.
Now, about the slaw: spiralize (or thinly slice) carrots and apples, then mix with shredded cabbage, jalapeño, and cilantro, and toss with a light dressing. I am definitely not a fan of mayo (not even a little), but it’s kind of essential for slaw, and there’s only a very small amount in this dressing. Not at all goopy.
I serve this on fresh ciabatta rolls or in tortillas as tacos with lots of slaw, avocado, and arugula on top.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (your choice, homemade recipe to follow)
BBQ sauce Recipe adapted from The kitchn
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon salt
For BBQ sauce: Place small sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once warm, add minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add cumin stirring until fragrant, about another minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Continuing cooking for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Thin to desired texture with water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat; when warm, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken, spreading out evenly. Brown 2 minutes on each side. Pour in barbecue sauce and turn chicken to coat. Cover with tight fitting lid and remove from heat. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 90 minutes, or until chicken is very tender. Remove from oven and shred meat with forks (you can do this in a separate dish, but I always shred it right in the pot). If needed, heat the sauce over medium heat until thickened. Serve on your favorite rolls or in tortillas with slaw and avocado.
Carrot, Apple, & Cabbage Spiralized Slaw:
2-3 medium carrots
1 medium apple
1/2 small head of green cabbage, shredded
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
slaw dressing: Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar
Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl and whisk.
Spiralize (or thinly slice) the carrots and apple. Place in large bowl along with shredded cabbage. Add jalapeño and cilantro. Pour dressing over all slaw ingredients and toss (I sometimes use my clean hands to ensure everything is coated evenly). Serve with BBQ chicken.