I’m feeling quite refreshed in the culinary department after our trip to KCMO (which I’m now realizing is how all the cool kids refer to Kansas City, Missouri!)
Sometimes when you do the same thing day in and day out – no matter the field – a once free-flowing faucet of fresh ideas can occasionally slow to a mere trickle. That being said, the menus at the eclectic restaurants Ben and I visited last weekend provided me with tons of foodie inspiration, and left me brimming with new and creative recipes ideas.
Take these Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw, inspired by a menu item at The Westside Local, for instance. I was this close to ordering ‘em for dinner when I decided it would be more fun to recreate them at home. So I did. And I’m dying over them!!
Chicken breasts are slow cooked in a homemade bourbon-BBQ sauce then shredded and topped with smoky gouda cheese, and tart, Crunchy Apple Slaw. These sandwiches are seriously insane. Mouthwatering. Mind blowing. And made right in the crock pot!
Crock pot recipes seem to slow down in the warmer months, but this is actually the best time of year to bust your crock put out as they don’t heat up the house like cooking with the oven or stove. When they’re used to create a summery dish like this, dripping with smoked gouda cheese (!) all the better. I am in love with these tart & tangy topped, smokey bourbon chicken sandwiches.
Start by getting the homemade bourbon-BBQ sauce ready, which cooks the chicken to tender, saucy perfection. This may look like a TON of ingredients, which it kind of is, I guess, but I had every single one of ‘em already on hand.
You’ll need ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, pepper, brown sugar, dijon mustard, molasses, and garlic and onion powders.
Oh, and bourbon, of course! Ben’s a bourbon guy. There’s nothing that man likes more than sipping a warm glass late at night while listening to hip hop music. I don’t…even.
You only need 1/2 cup bourbon for the recipe, so if you don’t have a bottle on hand and don’t feel like buying one, pick up a couple of those little bottles they have near the cash register in the alcohol department of your grocery store. I wouldn’t substitute anything in place of the bourbon – it gives this dish an unbelievably unique flavor.
That being said, don’t tell Ben I used 1/2 cup of his bourbon.
Anyway! Combine the bourbon-BBQ sauce ingredients in the bottom of a large crock pot then whisk to combine.
Next add 2lbs chicken breasts that have been cut in half then smother them in the sauce.
Cook the chicken on low for 4-6 hours (individual crock pot times vary – I only needed 4 hours) or until very tender, then shred with 2 forks. It should pretty much just fall apart at this point!
Scoop out 2 cups of the cooking liquid then let it bubble and reduce in a saucepan on the stove top for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools, FYI.
Add the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and stir with the remaining sauce then place a lid on top and keep warm.
Next make the Crunchy Apple Slaw that goes on top of the Bourbon Chicken Sammies. In a large bowl whisk together 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 1 Tablespoon honey.
Next add the juice of 1/2 lime and salt and pepper.
To the dressing add 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage, and 1 thinly chopped Granny Smith Apple, then toss everything to combine. I loved the crispy, crunchy, tart, and sweet flavors in this slaw!
Slice some buns open then top with the shredded chicken…
Top with a few spoonfuls of the reduced bourbon-BBQ sauce…
Then place a few slices of smoked gouda cheese on top. Smoked gouda is ma JAM, people. Probably favorite cheese ever. I got a wedge at Whole Foods but you should be able to find some at most major grocery stores.
Pop the sandwiches under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese, then top with the Crunchy Apple Slaw and devour.
Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon (I used Bulleit)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons light molasses
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2lbs chicken breasts, cut in half
6oz smoked gouda, sliced
For the Crunchy Apple Slaw:
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
juice of 1/2 lime
salt & pepper
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly chopped
- Combine ingredients from ketchup to pepper in a large crock pot then whisk to combine. Add chicken halves then cover completely in sauce and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is very tender. (I only needed 4.)
- Remove 2 cups cooking liquid and transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly and let bubble and thicken, about 15 minutes. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Meanwhile, shred chicken with 2 forks then return to crock pot with remaining liquid and stir to combine.
- For the Crunchy Apple Slaw: In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add cabbage and apples then toss to combine.
- Place shredded chicken on top of bottom buns then top with reduced sauce and slices of smoked gouda. Place under broiler until cheese is melted then top with Crunchy Apple Slaw and serve.
This is a stand-over-the-sink and inhale kinda sandwich. Which, yes, I freely admit to doing. So worth it. Messy, cheesy, crunchy, and with a deep bourbon flavor, this is one of my favorite recipes to come out of my kitchen in ages. Hope you love it too!