Normally when my husband isn’t home for dinner I can be found eating guacamole with my fingers (who needs chips!?) or a giant “meal” bowl of popcorn or maybe finishing off a block of cheese with a few crackers. I wish I could say I was making some of those up. My point is, when my spouse isn’t around, I let the rules slide. When he’s around, salad or vegetables are a requirement with every meal and I can’t use my fingers unless it’s a designated finger-food. But not this time.
With some chicken thighs already defrosted (I buy the organic ones from Costco which are reasonably priced and good quality!) and a week of meals for one needed, I had to make something versatile enough to be used for several meals. Something that could be easily reseasoned and repurposed. So I threw something together that turned out REALLY delicious. I made some simple slow cooked shredded chicken that when as-is tastes just like rotisserie chicken but with a little doctoring can be made into BBQ pulled chicken, chicken and bean burritos, chicken nachos, chicken, rice and vegetables or thrown into a casserole. For my first night I had a North Carolina style pulled chicken thigh sandwich (on a wheat bun) with salad (and home made ranch) and some quick (home made) baked beans. You can bet my husband is ready to come home already.
Unlike large roasts– beef or pork– chicken usually cooks on high for about four hours in a slow cooker, especially if using chicken breasts. They don’t contain very much fat or connective tissue that needs breaking down so fast and hot is ideal for them. Chicken thighs are not only a cheaper part of the chicken but they can withstand longer cooking on low. I cooked my recipe on low for six hours but if you want to turn this bad boy on before going to work and they cook for 8+ hours you should still have tender chicken that hasn’t turned to mush.
The players include a 2-quart slow cooker dish, a pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs, one cola soda (use the real, non-diet kind), two cloves of garlic, kosher salt, pepper, chicken bouillon. Fun fact: This Coke is from my wedding about a year and a half ago– it’s still good… I think? I use my Better Than Bouillon here but you could sub in any condensed version of chicken stock.
Pour in the can of cola; it should be enough to just barely cover the meat. Chop up the garlic and add it with a couple grinds of pepper and about two pinches of salt. Then add about two tablespoons of your condensed chicken product of choice. Yes, that’s right, you don’t need to mix the chicken bouillon with water first, just add it to the cola. Give it a little stir and that’s it! Turn it on low and cook for 6-8 hours or on high for about 4-5 hours.
After a few hours it doesn’t yet look like much but it will smell great! Obviously you could stop here and not shred it. It could be served with wild rice and roasted vegetables just like this, but I take mine a step further and shred it.
Try not to eat it all directly from the slow cooker. I swear, it tastes just like rotisserie chicken, you know, the kind you can get in the super market? Like that but obviously not as dry. This would be such a great substitute for any time a recipe calls for shredded chicken! As I showed you above, I had some North Carolina style BBQ sauce leftover from making pulled pork sliders for Super Bowl so I simply mixed some in with a little of the chicken to make my sandwich.
This recipe using a pound of meat is enough to serve four people so I have enough left over to use for the rest of my week. Because the flavor isn’t overpoweringly one style (for example cumin and chili powder would have been more Mexican style) I can mix in seasonings and reuse my already cooked meat in different ways without the hassle of preparing a whole meal.
Any one out there going to give this a try? If you think slow cooking is only for large roasts and stews, this is a great one to try out because the ingredients (all six of them) are mostly pantry staples! What things do you use rotisserie-style chicken for?
Rotisserie-esque Slow Cooker Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cola soda (not diet!)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon (or condensed chicken stock/bouillon)
salt and pepper
- Add all ingredients to a 2-quart slow cooker (a larger slow cooker dish would also work).
- Give a gentle stir to make sure chicken is covered by soda and seasonings are incorporated.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
- Shred chicken by pulling it apart with two forks.
- Enjoy as is or add seasonings to adjust flavor!
Some good ways to use the chicken:
- As is with roasted vegetables and rice or pasta
- Mixed with your favorite barbeque sauce on a sandwich
- In a casserole that calls for cooked chicken or turkey
- Seasoned with some cumin, chili powder and oregano (maybe a little salsa) and in enchiladas, a burrito or tacos
- Seasoned with some garlic, ginger, sesame seed oil and soy sauce and served with plain or noodles with vegetables. Garnish with green onions.
- Mixed into your favorite pasta sauce and served over pasta (this would be great in a white or red sauce).