Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Chicken

Sometimes, the slow cooker leaves you with tender, moist meat…

And, sometimes, it does not…

The majority of the time, I end up with delicious, falling-apart meat.

This recipe (ignore the picture – it’s not from the same recipe) unfortunately started out as the latter.  I have to admit, I was unsure about it going in.  But the comments seemed to be mostly positive, so I decided to give it a try.

The chicken turned out to be very dry though.  As in, I almost choked several times when trying to swallow it dry.

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The flavor, however, was good.  The spice rub along with the balsamic vinegar added hints of garlic, onion, and tartness.  I wanted to try to salvage the meal.

So, I resorted to what I do with a lot of slow cooker meals: shredding the meat.  Using two forks, I shredded the chicken breasts and mixed them in the cooking liquid.  The chicken absorbed almost all of the liquid instantaneously.

I knew I had to (hopefully) work some magic.  I got out a pan, some butter, a little flour, and chicken broth.  I melted the butter, added the chicken, sprinkled in a little flour, poured in the broth, and whisked away.  And Voilà!  I had a richer and more substantial sauce to rescue my dry chicken.  In fact, the end product was juicy enough to eat on a bun, with nothing more than a little fresh parsley sprinkled on top.

You can really see the difference in the before and after:

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If you do decide to give this recipe a try, I recommend reducing the cooking time to no more than 6 hours and maybe using chicken thighs instead of breasts.  You also just may want to incorporate the spice rub and balsamic vinegar into a non-slow cooker chicken dish of your own, because it was delicious.

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If you feel like being adventurous though, start with the spices…

  • Place 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl.

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  • Add 1 teaspoon of dried basil.

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  • Pour in ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt.

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  • Add ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.

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  • Finish with 2 teaspoons minced onion.

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  • Stir to distribute all ingredients evenly.

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  • Mince up some garlic.

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  • Pour 1 tablespoon EVOO into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Distribute the garlic on the bottom of the slow cooker.

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  • Trim 2 pounds of chicken breasts.
  • Rub half of the spice mixture onto one side of the chicken breasts.

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  • Place the chicken, seasoned side down, in your slow cooker.
  • Rub the remainder of the spice rub on the other side.

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  • Flip the chicken breasts.

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  • Pour a little balsamic vinegar on top of the chicken.

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  • Cover and cook on low for no more than 6 hours.

When your chicken is done, follow these steps to turn it into saucy deliciousness…

  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using 2 forks.

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  • Pour all of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker on to the chicken.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add a tablespoon of butter.

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  • Let the butter melt completely.

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  • Add the chicken and liquid.

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  • Stir and cook for a minute or two.
  • Push the chicken to one side of the pan, leaving most of the liquid on the other side.

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  • Sprinkle a little flour onto the liquid.

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  • Whisk to combine.

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  • Cook for a minute, then pour in a little chicken broth.

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  • Whisk until the sauce is smooth.

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  • Stir the chicken back into the sauce.

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  • Cook for another minute.

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Eat as is, over rice, or in a bun.

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Garnish with a little parsley.

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Enjoy!

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*If you like this recipe, you may also want to try Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken and Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders.

One Year Ago: Mexican Cauliflower “Couscous”

Two Years Ago: Greek Quinoa Salad

Three Years Ago: Tomato Couscous Salad and Roasted Pepper & Mozzarella Omelet

Slow Cooker Shredded Balsamic Chicken (serves 6-8)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pour the olive oil into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Add the garlic.
  • Combine the garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper, and minced onion in a small bowl.
  • Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in your slow cooker.
  • Pour the balsamic vinegar on top.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks.
  • Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker onto the chicken.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Add the chicken and all of the liquid.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Push the chicken to one side of the pan, leaving as much as the liquid on the other side as possible.
  • Sprinkle the flour onto the liquid.
  • Whisk to combine and cook for a minute.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, while whisking.
  • Cook for a minute, then stir the chicken into the sauce.
  • Let cook for another minute.
  • Garnish with the parsley when serving.

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