The minute I saw this recipe on Elly’s site, Elly Says Opa!, I knew I had to try it. So, this Saturday when we had my sisters and cousins over for a much-needed get-together (including food, drinks, good conversation and great laughs), I did just that.
Elly used a slow-cooker but I don’t yet have one. So I just started a homemade barbecue sauce on the stove, poured it over some well-seasoned chicken breasts, covered the roasting dish tightly with foil and slowly cooked the chicken in the oven until tender. I removed the foil and cooked the chicken for a few minutes more to thicken up the sauce. After that, I easily shredded the tender chicken using two forks to pull it apart and served it over mini bread rolls along with some sliced onion and tomatoes.
To backtrack a little, the minor changes I made to Elly’s recipe were in the barbecue sauce. I added a slightly Greek touch by stirring in a pinch of dried Greek oregano and ground Mastiha. Yup, you read right: a Mastiha-flavored barbecue sauce. It’s not as crazy or as daring as you think and if you haven’t yet worked with these amazing little crystals please head on over to MastihaShopNY.com to get some. Use them sparingly to add a unique flavor to a number of dishes and you won’t be disappointed.
As for these Pulled Chicken Sliders, they are a must for casual get-togethers, if I do say so myself. This is a healthy, kid-friendly, party-friendly, anything-you-want-friendly dish that you should really try soon. So, what are you waiting for? Oh, and don’t forget the cold beer … it’s a must. Not for the kids, of course … just give ‘em a cool iced tea.
Pulled Chicken Sliders
Adapted from Elly Says Opa!
(Amounts here served 10 to 12; you can easily halve the recipe)
10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
For the barbecue sauce:
26.5 ounce box chopped tomatoes
3 to 4 chipotle chilies, finely chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons thyme honey
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
4 crystals Mastiha, finely ground
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a medium sauce pan, bring all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 325 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a roasting pan or rectangular Pyrex baking dish and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange sliced onions and garlic over the chicken, then pour the barbecue sauce over top and add a little water (about 1/4 cup) to the dish. Cover the baking dish/pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Cook chicken for about 1 hour, then remove foil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes longer until the sauce has thickened slightly and the chicken is fork tender.
Once the chicken is done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Using two forks, pull the chicken breasts apart to shred the meat. Toss the pulled chicken well to thoroughly coat it in the sauce remaining in the dish/pan. Serve the pulled chicken warm or hot on bread rolls or buns and top with sliced onions, sliced jalapenos or tomatoes. (You can easily make this ahead: just cook chicken in the barbecue sauce; cool to room temperature; cover tightly and refrigerate or set side until ready to serve; reheat at 275 degrees about 45 minutes before serving; and once heated through, pull the meat apart with two forks and serve as suggested.)