This weekend was a nice relaxing few days. Of course too short, but that’s how it goes with weekends, I suppose. With the weather being the deep freeze that is late January, it was the perfect opportunity to hibernate for a few days, indulge in hearty comfort food and watch some football. The football didn’t turn out too great (we were rooting for the Bears and the Jets, sigh), but I think the hibernating and eating portions of the weekend more than made up for it.
I have found a few interesting recipes in the January/February issue of Everyday Food and this slow cooker spicy buffalo pulled chicken sounded perfect for a football day. The site doesn’t have the recipe listed yet, but there are some great instructions and photos for this dish here. The ingredients are simple, and mixing both chicken breast and thighs helps to keep the texture and flavor of the meat just right. The seasoning and sauce were what you’d expect for a pulled bbq sandwich, although for picky eaters, you may want to puree the onion, pepper, tomato and seasonings before adding to the meat. I made this recipe mostly how it was printed, but added extra hot sauce, used diced tomatoes instead of crushed and added a little extra chicken breast that I had already poached from making stock. Toward the end of the cooking time, I took the lid off of the crock pot and let some of the liquid evaporate, to thicken up the sauce. This made quite a bit, even considering the extra chicken I tossed in, so have been able to plan on some leftovers.
It doesn’t seem right to have a spicy barbecue sandwich without some cool, creamy cole slaw. I mixed a quick batch together and my new Kitchen Aid slicer/shredder attachment made quick work of all the chopping. (Thanks to my mom for this great gift!)
The barbecue and slaw were great, but what really pushed this over the edge was the bread. Oh, the bread. I don’t generally buy sandwich rolls and figured, how hard can it be, really? I know you may think it’s crazy, but it was completely stress-free and completely worth the minimal amount of effort.
King Arthur Flour has an easy-to-follow recipe here. I imagine you could take this basic recipe and do any number of yummy things with it. This makes a really wonderfully textured, yet tender roll with just the right amount of crusty goodness. I happened to have sesame seeds to add on top, and I think it definitely took it up a notch, but if you don’t have them, it will still be good. I promise.
For a great tip on how to shape these beauties, check out the knot method on Pinch My Salt. It worked perfectly for me, although I think these rolls would be just as tasty without any manipulation.
I know a lot of people are intimidated by bread, especially when it doesn’t involve a bread machine, clever tricks or fancy equipment. I’ve said it before and I will say it again — making your own yeast bread is really quite straightforward. But let’s just keep that between us so my family will continue to think I am some kind of magician.