Pulled Chicken with Cherry-Chile Barbecue Sauce

by Monica Bennion on February 20, 2014

An all-American recipe with big bold flavors!  Pairs well with our ripe and juicy InZINerator.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
1 tbsp. peeled chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp. minced fresh jalapeño (seeds and membranes removed)
Scant 4 cups dark sweet fresh cherries, pitted and de-stemmed
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1/4 cup black strap molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. chipotle chile from a can of chipotle chiles en adobo
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard, divided
1 1/4 tsp. chile powder, divided
2 tsp. coarse salt, divided
15 grinds black pepper, divided
2 tsp. light brown sugar
3 lbs. bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed if necessary
4 to 6 hamburger buns, toasted, for serving

DIRECTIONS
1)  Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the shallots, ginger and jalapeño and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the cherries, tomatoes, molasses, vinegar, chipotle, 1 tsp. mustard, 3/4 tsp. chile powder, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 5 grinds of pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until aromatic and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and carefully transfer half to a blender.  Purée until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Purée the second half until smooth.  There should be about 5 1/4 cups; set aside.

2)  Meanwhile, mix 2 tsp. mustard, 1/2 tsp. chile powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 10 grinds of pepper and the brown sugar in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and mix well with your hands.  Put the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and pour 1 1/2 cups of the barbecue sauce on top (reserve the remainder for serving).  Cover and cook on low until the meat is cooked through and tender, about 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

3)  Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board and carefully use a fork to separate the meat from the bones, discarding the bones.  There should be about 4 cups of meat.

4)  To serve, stir together 1 cup of the remaining sauce and the shredded meat, and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.  Spoon meat and sauce onto toasted hamburger buns.

Courtesy of Epicurious, Contributed by Year-Round Slow Cooker by Dina Cheney

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