Right off the start I will admit that I didn't go into this recipe with an open mind. I've probably mentioned before that I am not really a fan of tomato sauce-y kind of dishes ... and with chicken, even less. I actually made up the chicken mixture a day earlier than we ate it, because I just didn't feel like serving it that night. However, I've never been disappointed with an "Ellie" recipe yet ... so I threw caution to the winds and we had them for lunch today.
Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
2008, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved
Serves: 6 servings, serving size: 1 sandwich
Ellie uses a rotisserie chicken, but they are quite a bit more expensive, so I baked my own chicken.
Since there would be only two of us eating, I halved the recipe, and I halved the chicken, saving the other half for a delicious Chicken / Broccoli Casserole from my youth (I found the recipe amongst Mom's recipe books when I was home) that I will definitely be making again next week and will take photos of then.
I didn't have any tomato sauce, so I finely diced one tomato instead.
You can't buy regular molasses here ... all that I have been able to find is sold by the barrel from huge tanker trucks as cattle feed enhancer. I used panela instead ... which is kinda like molasses taken one step further in the process and dried into a sticky cube.
I just left out the liquid smoke ... I didn't know what I could substitute, but it seemed like it would add another level of flavor.
I used my own home made hamburger / sandwich buns from a recipe that I stumbled across last week and loved and haven't posted yet ... its coming real soon.
I didn't bother buying lettuce because I have an incredible patch of a perennial, small leaved spinach that seems to grow faster the more I cut it. It is mild, even with its dark green color, so is excellent as a lettuce substitute.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 whole rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded into thin strips (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)
6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls
6 large green lettuce leaves
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vinegar, molasses, pepper and liquid smoke and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped chicken, return to a simmer, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Split rolls. Place a leaf of lettuce on each roll, then pile on 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto the roll.
I was pleasantly surprised. At first, I thought the chicken was a bit too sweet, but the vinegar seemed to keep it in hand. There is no way I could have eked out three sandwiches from this half of the recipe ... I think my chicken may have been a bit smaller and for sure my home made buns were larger. However, one sandwich piled with almost half of the chicken mixture and served with cole slaw (a dill pickle would have been much better!) made an excellent lunch.