Slow cooker weather is here so I’m sharing my Spanish-inspired smoky bacon and veggetable pulled chicken stew recipe which can be made in a slow cooker, in the oven or on the stove. It’s soupy, rich and can be enjoyed in a number of ways, too!
What is pulled chicken?
Pulled chicken, or any pulled meat for that matter, is slow cooked until it basically falls off the bone. It’s so tender that when you poke it with a fork it almost melts and shreds easily. It can be done on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker.
Generally, cheaper cuts of chicken are used to make pulled chicken stews. Thigh meat and drumsticks are excellent for this. They contain more fat than breast meat which renders and keeps thins juicy.
I much prefer using organic chicken thighs for this as they are more flavourful and won’t dry out like breast meat has a tendency to do.
I’ve bought mine on special so making this budget friendly was not too hard, especially given the fact that it is more than half-filled with vegetables.
Add some vegetables to the pulled chicken
Spanish onion, sweet potato, carrot, celery make the bulk of the veggie mixture. You can pop in some frozen spinach as well (I was going to but forgot). And, of course, smoky bacon.
The rest is quite simple: peeled canned tomatoes, a few herbs and spices and time. 8 hours in a slow cooker on low. 1 hour in an oven at 160C or on the stove on low heat, covered.
The resulting pulled chicken stew can be enjoyed with shavings of Manchego cheese (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese) or Parmesan and a side of some crusty sourdough. You can serve it with pasta or rice as well, and if you prefer.
Smoky Bacon and Vegetable Pulled Chicken
- 100 g streaky bacon rind removed
- 1 medium Spanish onion
- 6 stalks celery
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1 small red chilli optional
- 4 chicken thighs I used organic
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 can diced peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups passata
- 1 fresh garlic clove
- Manchego or Parmesan cheese to serve
- Sourdough or other bread to serve
- Slice bacon into matchsticks. Peel and finely dice onion. Dice celery. Peel and finely dice carrot and sweet potato. Finely dice red chilli, if using. Cut chicken thighs in half.
- If using a slow cooker, place all ingredients into the slow cooker, mix well then cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Heat oil in a large pan or stove-to-oven dish set over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and onion, and cook stirring, for 5 minutes for the bacon to begin to caramelise and the onion to become translucent.
- Add the sugar and spices, except garlic, then stir and move the mixture off to the side of the pan - add chicken thighs and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Add diced vegetables, pour in the diced tomatoes and passata, stir well to combine and dislodge any bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover, lower the heat to low and cook, gently simmering for an hour. Season with salt to taste.
- Once the meat is cooked through and tender, turn off the heat and using two forks shred the meat. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Stir through the shredded meat and sauce.
- Serve with a generous sprinkling of Manchego or Parmesan and some sourdough bread on the side.