Tag Archives: chili powder

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

My favorite way to use the slow cooker is on the high setting, where I can count on meats not being dried out and flavorless. That’s what I find happens when you cook meat for 8-10 hours while you are at work. Soups and dried bean recipes do well for the long cooking, but even then any added meats are usually overcooked, unless you have a large piece like a pork shoulder. So, I’ve found a number of recipes that cook up in 3-5 hours, like my Butter Chicken/Pheasant recipe, that takes care of the delicate little pheasant breasts. Of course, I’m retired, so I can make use of the shorter cooking times any day of the week.

This slow cooker pulled chicken is a variation of the slow cooker pulled pork recipe originally from Chowhound. Here are the few changes I’ve made to accommodate chicken:

  1. I cut back the cinnamon in the rub to 1/2 teaspoon
  2. I rubbed the chicken pieces with the rub and let them marinate in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 4 hours
  3. I only used one onion and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, because I only used 5 boneless chicken thighs

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Rub:
    • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Preparation

  1. Place the chicken and rub in a large plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat all pieces well. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or even overnight.
  2. In the crock of a slow cooker, place the onions, garlic, and chicken broth. Place the chicken pieces on top and close the lid.
  3. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Pull the chicken apart in the crock and mix well with the onions and broth.
  4. Pile meat on buns and serve your favorite way, which for us is with a creamy slaw.

Pheasant Breasts—Butter Chicken Style

Of all the dishes I’ve done with pheasant, I don’t think I’ve tried any slow cooker recipes, so here’s my first (and I finally added a Slow Cooker category). It cooks rather quickly, even in a slow cooker, at just 3-5 hours on low; I wouldn’t try it for one of those all-day recipes where you start it in the morning and go to work. I fear the tender little breasts would be tasteless and dry by the end of an entire day.

Thanks, Missy.

There are lots of recipes out there for butter chicken, but just a few elements tie them together:

  • Butter—there is no substitute for this, or you have to call the dish something else
  • Something creamy—yogurt, cream, or coconut milk
  • Tomato—fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, or thick tomato sauce
  • Spices—garam masala, curry powder or paste, ginger, chili powder, cumin

Easy and really tasty.

Pheasant Breasts—Butter Chicken Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pheasant breasts, cut in large cubes
  • 1 large or two medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter; more for serving
  • 2 cups thick tomato sauce (see my roasted tomato sauce here)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used full fat)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with a little of the coconut milk
  • Spices:
    • 2 teaspoons garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon red curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 teaspoons garlic paste or roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste or 2 inches fresh ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Optional: cilantro, if you like it, for serving or stirred into the sauce
Preparation
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute onions until translucent.
  2. Stir in spices, salt and pepper, garlic, and ginger, cooking until fragrant.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, coconut milk and cornstarch/coconut milk mixture. Simmer until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour sauce over cubed pheasant in slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, but not longer than 5 hours.

Serve with brown basmati rice and warm naan. Place a pat of butter on each serving for a little decadence.

Hot Dog Sauce Redux

Two years ago, I posted a recipe probably given to me by my sister-in-law for hot dog sauce, supposedly similar to that at a Greenville, PA bar and grill. We’ve had the original many times, including recently, and thought this recipe was pretty close, at least in basic ingredients. But if you look at the post comments, you’ll see two recent comments from former Greenville residents that suggest one significant problem with my sauce, a problem I agree with—too much cloves. One generous informant, Mr. McDonald, even provided a recipe from one of his former Greenville neighbors “of the original Majestic restaurant.” Here’s the recipe I have been using, followed by the better one:

I decided to make the better recipe in a slow cooker, instead of hovering around a pot on the stove, and that turned out to be a good choice, although the beef didn’t break down like I thought it might, even after 8 hours, so I pulsed it in a blender for a few seconds for a much better texture. Both cooking methods are below.

Greenville Hot Dog Sauce

  • Servings: makes about 8-10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 “handfuls chopped onion” (I used 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg (Mr. McDonald used 2 teaspoons; I used the tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (I only had smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 14 oz bottle ketchup
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I added 2 more at the end)
  • 1 cup flour (Mr. McDonald says “3/4 c. seems enough”; I used the full cup in the slow cooker)
Preparation

On stove:

  1. Brown beef, drain, and set aside, reserving about 3 tablespoons fat in pot.
  2. Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent.
  3. Return beef to pot with spices and ketchup.
  4. Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to sauce mixture. “Simmer 2 hours. The sauce will thicken and the beef will break down. The beef is supposed to be in small particles, like Cincinnati chili. If you simmer the sauce uncovered then the water evaporates down,” if needed.

In slow cooker:

  1. Brown beef in large skillet, drain, and place in slow cooker. Reserve about 3 tablespoons fat in skillet.
  2. Sweat onions in the reserved fat until translucent, then transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Add spices and ketchup to slow cooker.
  4. Beat together water, salt, and flour until all the flour is combined. Add to slow cooker, stirring until all is combined.
  5. Cook at HIGH for 4 hours. Stir, then set at LOW for another 3-4 hours. You shouldn’t have any sticking, unless you have an older cooker with the heating element on the bottom, in which case you might want to use an all-day LOW setting.
  6. If the texture of the ground beef is still chunky at the end of the cooking (like mine was) you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender or food processor to make it more finely textured, which is best for a hot dog sauce. Just don’t turn it into a paste!

*About the amount of flour in the sauce. One cup of flour has 16 tablespoons, enough to thicken 8 cups of liquid to a medium sauce, like white sauce or cheese sauce. Combined here with 6 cups of water, you can see why the first cooking method on the stovetop suggests using less. In the slow cooker, however, there is little to no evaporation and the sauce is not too thick. That said, you have to decide how thick you want the final sauce. We like a kind of loose sauce with fine textured meat, and thought this one was just right

New Gadget, Same Pulled Pork

I had a nice Cuisinart slow cooker for a long time, but the removable crock got a hairline crack, and eventually it leaked badly into the cooker. I don’t use a slow cooker very often, especially now that I’m retired and can cook as much as I want, so replacing it hasn’t been a priority. Then there’s the grill, which can act like a slow cooker itself. More about that later. I looked at reviews and also considered my wallet when deciding on the Hamilton Beach® Stay or Go.™ At under $60, and even less with a coupon, it has a number of features for the price that make it desirable: (1) the lid clamps down, so there’s no bubbling steam around the edges to gather and drip; (2) it’s programmable, so I can pick a time and know that it will shut off if I’m out longer than expected; (3) it has a probe that you can insert into a large piece of meat to register the temperature and prevent overcooked meat, a common complaint about slow cookers.

I’m christening the new gadget today with our favorite pulled pork recipe, made specifically for a slow cooker, although I have made it in the oven and on the grill: Chowhound‘s “Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.” The best part of the recipe is the dry rub, which I only slightly modify and have used on country style spare ribs, and even liquefied into a wet barbecue sauce. I’ve referred to Chowhound‘s recipe at least four times on this blog:

I find it to be a versatile rub that I have varied only slightly, until settling on my favorite variation that adds smoked paprika and increases the cumin and cinnamon.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Chowhound‘s “Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Place in the bottom of a slow cooker, a bed of 3 large thick sliced onions and 4 large slivered garlic cloves.

Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.

Remove the plastic netting from a boneless pork shoulder (3-5 lbs) and rub all over with the following dry rub (use a large bowl, so you don’t lose any rub):

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the pork roast on top of the onion bed, close the slow cooker and set to low. Cook for about 8 hours, without peeking.

Pull the meat apart with forks and stir into the onions and juices. Serve on buns with coleslaw. You just won’t believe how moist and flavorful this pulled pork is until you try it.