It’s nice to have the makings of easy meals tucked away in the fridge, cupboards and pantry. There are days I look forward to having a pot of chicken soup simmering on the back corner of the wood stove and a loaf of bread rising in the cold corner of this old farmhouse’s kitchen. And then there are days I don’t want to cook. Maybe I’ve been working on the book and forgotten to take meat out of the freezer. Keeping it simple is my theme for for the day, and making pulled chicken ahead of time keeps it simple.
This week’s recipe is more about ideas and a method than our typical here are the ingredients, here’s how to cook it recipe.
Basics – add a layer of chicken to the bottom of a slow cooker. Turn the second layer of meat in the opposite direction (especially when using breast meat) so the meat cooks evenly. Two layers should be the max. Because we raise our own chickens we have chicken necks. I like to include them so they add flavor to the water. Cover it with water or chicken stock, turn the slow cooker on low and let it go.
You should save the liquid from the slow cooker. Freeze it for later or use it to make soup or gravy.
Or, buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it. Or, a smoked chicken. Or a brined chicken.
When the chicken is cool, pull it apart. Dno’t chop, slice or dice. Just pull.
After the chicken is pulled apart you can add the sauce you like best. My recipe for Homemade Barbecue Sauce is my second favorite. My favorite recipe for pulled meat sauce is an apple cider based sauce I use with Apple Cider Pulled Pork. Follow the recipe but use chicken instead of pork.
You can use pulled chicken in chicken pot pie or add it to mac and cheese. Chicken salad with mayonnaise, chopped walnuts and chopped dried cranberries is a hearty sandwich. It matches well with hot soup. I like to have half a sandwich filled full of chicken salad and a cup of soup for lunch or as a relaxed supper.
If you save the water the chicken cooked in you have a broth to use in a soup.
Add chicken to lasagna.
Enchaladas. Nachos. Quesadillas.
Pizza! Use barbecue sauce instead of traditional tomato. Marinate the already-cooked chicken in the sauce ahead of time.
Using a pizza cutter, cut Naan (Indian Flatbread) into large triangles, top with barbecue pizza and then with a bit of blue cheese, put that under the broiler and you’ve got a delicious meal that feels like a snack. Great with a salad.