I use to religiously participate in Taste and Create but end of last year abruptly stopped. The reason was not because the program sucked but I missed one month and then slowly I kept forgetting to send my name as the months passed by.
For those who do not know Taste and Create is an awesome program that once a month pairs you up with another blog. You find a recipe you like on their blog, create it, and ramble on about it. It has exposed me to a couple new blogs that I still try to religiously follow.
This month I got paired up with Jen from Piccante Dolce. One dish on her blog that really stood out was maple whiskey pulled chicken. How can you go wrong with a dish that has maple, booze, and chili peppers? Another bonus is that this recipe gave me a chance to relax in the kitchen and use my overpriced crock pot that is nothing more than a glorified food warmer. Also, after the stuffed manicotti my overworked dishwasher smiled at me. However, that could have been a result of the whiskey (had to taste to make sure the whiskey was still good).
The recipe did call for liquid smoke which surprisingly for my vast selection of random stuff I did not have. I do have my trusty hand held smoker called the Smoking Gun. It is made by Polyscience and a valuable resource if you are obsessed with smoking especially quick smoked cheeses. Another advantage of the smoking gun is during winter when I miss the smell of smoke from my smoker filling up the house I will fire up the smoking gun and run around. I went ahead and ran a couple handfuls of cherry and hickory wood chips through the smoking gun to try and impart some smokey flavor. In the spirit of honesty the smokey flavor was not really present in the final product which bummed me out.
For this recipe you will need:
- About 3 lbs of chicken. Jen used a combination of chicken thighs and breast however, I used chicken thighs.
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp hickory liquid smoke
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Once you have all your ingredients it gets really complicated. You take everything but the chicken and throw it in your crock pot. Mix it all up so it combined, throw the chicken in, cover, and yell set it at forget it as you set your crock pot to low. Come back about 6 hours later to chicken that is easy to shred and has been slow cooked in a rich flavorful sauce.
This dish reminded me of BBQ and so I felt it deserved some BBQ treatment. I chopped up some cabbage, carrots, and broccoli and made a simple vinegar based coleslaw. The recipe really is dash of cider vinegar, dash of grapeseed oil, pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, mustard seeds, celery seeds, crushed red pepper, paprika, and what other spices you like. Finally, it would not be a spring dish unless it was served on a lightly toasted bun with some chips.