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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

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Remember last summer, when my brother Quinn was living in St. Louis and we would have family dinners with him, my sister Julia, and my brother-in-law Nate? Sigh. I miss those days, and the days of spoiling my brother with his favorites! Thankfully, we haven’t let our family dinner tradition die, even though Quinn returned to school in Minnesota. We’ve just swapped my sister Renatta for Quinn and we make it a point to whisk her away from St. Louis University’s campus from time to time to feed her a home-cooked meal, compete in Just Dance, and watch (and re-watch) Pitch Perfect.

Because she doesn’t eat a lot of meat on campus—and I don’t blame her, remembering the questionable state of meat in my own college dining hall—I try to serve it when she’s over. Most recently, it was by way of these Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, a recipe I pulled from Everyday Food magazine when it was still in print (anyone else really missing it?!).

You brown the chicken and sauté the peppers and onions to maximize flavor before throwing it all in a slow cooker for a few hours. Die hard buffalo chicken lovers will want to up the hot sauce—the ¼ cup was enough to keep everyone happy but we would’ve welcomed even more heat! Serve on buns with blue cheese, if desired, and eat, preferably while listening to ‘tales of a college freshman’, if you’re lucky!

One Year Ago: Slow Cooker Penne with Eggplant Tomato Sauce
Two Years Ago: No-Bake Banana Split Pie
Three Years Ago: Moroccan Carrot Sandwiches

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
from Everyday Food January/February 2011

-1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
-coarse salt and ground pepper
-1 medium yellow onion, diced small
-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
-1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
-1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
-1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce
-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-2 tbsp yellow mustard
-1 tbsp unsulfured molasses 
-8 hamburger buns

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
2. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over medium until onion is translucent, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the slow cooker. 
3. Add the tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and molasses to the slow cooker, stirring to mix everything. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until chicken is very tender. Shred chicken, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve on buns.