Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Rainbow Slaw for SRCJuly 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Asian, Breads, Dinner, Lunch, Rainbow, Salads, SRC, Vegetables | 78 Comments
Tags: Asian Buns, Asian Vinaigrette, Bell Peppers, Chicken, Crockpot Pulled Chicken, Honey Sesame Chicken, Pulled Chicken, Red Cabbage, Red Onions, Sandwiches, Sesame Chicken, slaw, Sliders, Slow Cooker Chicken, Snowpeas
We’re all familiar with loads of twists on pulled pork, pulled beef, pulled chicken – pulled any meat that can be shredded into juicy strands after being simmered in a sauce for a few hours – then slopped on a bun, which soaks up some of that sauce. I’ve seen riffs on Asian pulled pork and chicken, but I’ve never seen the following Asian take on it until I scrolled through my blog assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.
Does any carnivore NOT love Sesame or General Tso’s chicken? Well, the blog I was assigned, Eat Little, Eat Big..authored and photographed by Susie, who just so happens to live on the beautiful island of Maui (lucky!), came up with this brilliant idea. She simmered chicken breasts in a similar sauce used for sesame chicken – in a crockpot- for a few hours. Voila, Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken!
Initially, I was going to make her Crunchy Oven Baked Fish Sticks, but then decided that there was no way I was turning on the oven in this oppressive heat. We’re talking 98 – 100 degrees the past week, so I loved that this dish was slowly simmered in a crockpot..or slow cooker, whichever you prefer to call it. Potatoes, puhtatoes.
Of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone. First, I toasted the sesame seeds, then I omitted the ketchup and used tomato paste instead. I used Chili Paste (Sambal Oelek) in lieu of chili flakes, added rice wine vinegar for a bit of acid, and a little chicken stock for more sauce.
I also changed the cooking time since I was starting with semi-frozen chicken breasts, plus…to get that really shredded texture, more time was needed, semi-frozen or not. To thicken the sauce after simmering, I made a slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth, instead of using cornstarch alone. I grated some fresh ginger into the sauce simply because I couldn’t fathom sesame chicken without ginger.
Before I even finished reading the recipe, I had decided to pile this pulled chicken on buns. At the bottom of Susie’s recipe – she suggested doing just that. SO, I piled this chicken on buns, but not just any buns. Back in Dec, ’11, I baked some plain buns using an extra batch of dough I made from the Daring Bakers Char Siu Bao recipe and froze them. Instabuns! For the sliders, I used store-bought slider sized potato buns.
I love Asian bun dough. It’s soft and so velvety, so I knew they would make great vessels for burgers or sandwiches. Use any kind of bun you’d like, even a doughnut if that suits your fancy, since it, ummm, it seems to be all the rage, but I’m not really recommending it, so, proceed with caution, and an adventurous palate! Oh, sprouted buns are also nice and work very well because they’re sturdy, leaving lots of leeway for sauce soakage, without falling apart, I highly recommend those along with the two aforementioned buns — not doughnuts.
Finally, you know how much I’ve waxed on and on about my love of natural rainbows incorporated into dishes? What better than an array of colorful vegetables to pile on these buns with the chicken? We’ve got shredded red cabbage (the purple), a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, and blanched snow peas – all tossed together with a light vinaigrette.
This is my summer of Eat the Rainbow. Well, I’m trying to Eat the Rainbow. More to come soon, I hope. You see, I always say I’m going to make something, and then I never come through. I’m definitely not cut out for blogging, am I? OKay, I will rephrase that. I will do my very best to regale you all with loads of rainbow inspired dishes this summer. Hmm..maybe I should just stop saying it and try to actually do it?
In conclusion, these honey sesame chicken sliders are pretty, darn amazing and perfect for any party, so I do recommend you proceed without caution! If you’re GF, eat it out of the slow cooker, like I did at one point.
Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sandwiches with Rainbow Slaw
Inspired by Susie of Eat Little, Eat Big
Makes a ton of sliders, a half-ton of average sized sandwiches and maybe 6-8 unhinge your jaw, sandwiches
Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken
4 semi-frozen chicken breasts, cut in half (starting with semi-frozen chicken seems to help it shred better once cooked), OR, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
1 teaspoon chili paste (more if you like a lot of heat)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chicken broth or stock
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds, the amount depending on your preference
burger buns or slider buns
Note – If your chicken breasts are kind of big, I would suggest doubling the sauce ingredients poured over the breasts in the crockpot. The cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock for the thickening slurry remains the same, but add 2 tablespoons sesame oil instead of 1 when the sauce is thickened and done.
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin
1 small orange bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin (OR two carrots, peeled and shredded)
About 1/4 a small head red cabbage, shredded
1 very small red onion or half a red onion, sliced thin
1/4 lb snowpeas, blanched, each snowpea sliced in half vertically and horizontally. No worries about peas falling out – it just makes it better
Note – Slice and chop vegetables smaller for sliders. If you want a really shredded slaw, use the shredding disk or very thin slicing disk in your food processor for all the veggies (stack the snowpeas to shred). I used a knife that needed to be sharpened so I couldn’t slice the veggies as thin as I would have liked. It’s much easier to pile a more shredded slaw on the sliders or sandwiches and much easier to eat.
5 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced with kosher salt until it’s a paste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
squeeze of lime juice
freshly ground black or white pepper (to taste)
SLAW AND VINAIGRETTE DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine all of the vegetables in a bowl.
2. Make Vinaigrette. Place all ingredients in a jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously until blended. Drizzle your preferred amount over vegetables and toss.
3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the flavors blend in the fridge for a few houes. You can use it immediately, but it’s much better after marinating for a few hours. SO, make this salad while the chicken is cooking.
PULLED SESAME CHICKEN DIRECTIONS:
1. Season frozen chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place in the crockpot.
2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together except for the sesame oil, sesame seeds, cornstarch and 2 extra tablespoons of chicken stock. Pour over seasoned, frozen chicken in the crockpot.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until the chicken starts to fall apart. Remove chicken from sauce and shred with two forks. Set aside in a bowl.
4. Pour sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir together the cornstarch and chicken stock until smooth, then pour into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking constantly – it only takes a minute or two.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Pour over shredded chicken and mix well. Season with more salt and pepper if it needs it.
6. Assemble sandwiches. Cut buns in half – toast if you like. Place a heaping spoonful of rainbow slaw on the bottom bun. Top that with a heaping spoonful of the pulled chicken. Pour some extra sauce over chicken and top with other half bun. Enjoy with plenty of napkins!
Click on the blue frog below to see what my fellow SRC Group A participants chose from their assigned blogs.