Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

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Oh WOW these sandwiches are heavenly.  Honestly.  If you don't try these, well, I would be sad.  You would really be missing out.  And, they are really easy!  Since John is still having trouble standing for long periods of time, I sat him at the kitchen table with all the slaw ingredients and told him to work really hard at making the slaw perfect matchsticks.  With one tedious task out of the way, I worked on the chicken.

This recipe was a combination of two delicious recipes I've seen on other blogs recently.  The first was at Savour Fare which had a great post about Apple Cider Pulled Chicken.  The combination of ingredients sounded amazing, until I got to the slaw.  Mayo isn't really my thing so I started looking for other slaws, one that included actual apples (this is key since, you know, I still have about 1/2 of a full bushel to use up).  When I found this one at Steamy Kitchen, I immediately pulled out my food shopping list and added celery! Also, I love how their recipe called to peel the celery a little to remove the strings.  It worked great!  Plus, this was a great way to showcase my freshly made apple cider from yesterday.

The combination was a great one (if I do say so myself).  John ate a HUGE sandwich and then said, wow these are really good, can we have them again soon?  I made a full pound of chicken so he got to take 2 sandwiches with him for the week and had one for lunch the next day!  I couldn't have had a happier (albeit in pain) boyfriend! 
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Apple Slaw (adapted from here and here)
Serves:  5 (5 sandwiches)
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, divided
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon cajun spice blend
1 pound of chicken breasts
1 cup of baby carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 large apple
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
5 poppy seed rolls, split in half

Slice the onion.  In a large saucepan, or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent stirring often.  Add 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, mustard, and cajun seasoning.  Let the mixture come to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat to medium-high.  Add the chicken breasts and the remaining cup of apple cider, so the mixture is covering the chicken.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, until chicken breasts are cooked through.  Meanwhile, make the slaw.  Julienne the carrots, celery, and apple.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining apple cider vinegar, sour cream, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and poppy seeds.  Add this to the veggies and toss well.  When the chicken is cooked through, shred it with two forks returning it to the sauce.  Stir it so the sauce gets soaked up by the chicken shreds.  Top each poppy seed roll with pulled chicken and then apple slaw, top with remaining roll half.  Serve immediately.

There's only one thing left to say...YUM. 

The ingredient list is a long one but most of them you should have in the cabinet.  For us, we always have tomato paste, and both mustards.  And with this being apple week and all, we had the apples, too :) I made this for my family last weekend when I was home in New York; everyone loved it but mom said it was a little too vinegar-y for her.  If your family does not love that tangy vinegar, cut the 1/2 cup in the chicken to 1/3.  It's still savory and got a tang but doesn't overload.

Check out my other Apple Week Recipes:
Homemade Apple Cider, Apple Chocolate Chip Loaf, and Spiced Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Until the next time my oven is on...

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