My son has been battling a respiratory bug for the past couple of weeks, struggling to keep up with a busy school and extra-curricular schedule. Today, we decided, was a rest and recuperate day. He stayed in bed well past noon. I deemed it the perfect day to make the slow cook BBQ chicken that he loves. Instead of the sauteed red potatoes I normally make with it, I had a craving for a stuffed, twice-baked potato as a side.
Many of my meals start with my Le Creuset french oven. I use it so much, it rarely makes it off the drying rack and into the cabinet.
To brown the chicken, coat the bottom of the Le Creuset with olive oil (about 2 T. ), and heat it on medium high until the oil starts to bubble. Add two raw whole chicken breasts. After a couple of minutes, begin to turn the chicken every 2-3 minutes.
Add black pepper and minced garlic to the chicken, and continue to turn every 2-3 minutes until brown on both side and nearly cooked through.
While the chicken browns, prepare the sauce in a small crock pot. Mix one bottle of Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, one bottle of wheat beer (or pale ale), and 1 T. of concentrated chicken stock. I love the taste of the mustard-based (“gold”) BBQ sauce with the beer, rather than a more traditional tomato-based BBQ sauce. Begin to heat sauce on the crock pot’s highest setting.
When the chicken is browned and the sauce has warmed, place chicken breasts in the sauce. If more than just the tops of the chicken are out of the sauce, you’ll need to add more BBQ sauce and/or beer to cover it. Cook the chicken on high for at least 60 minutes.
To start the twice-baked potatoes, coat baking potatoes with olive oil and put straight onto the oven rack in a pre-heated 400-degree oven. Cook for 1-1/4 hours at 400 degrees.
After the potatoes are in the oven, use two forks to break apart the chicken breast in the crock pot into large, bit-sized pieces. Cover and let cook on high until the meal is ready to serve.
Remove potatoes from the oven and place on cutting board to cool for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooling, saute 8oz. mushrooms, 1 cup bacon pieces and 1 T minced garlic in 1 T olive oil in a skillet.
Remove the top 1/5 of each potato, and scoop out the skins into a mixing bowl. Retain the potato skins. Add 2 T butter and 1/4 skim milk and mix. Add the mushroom, bacon and garlic mixture to the potatoes and mix.
Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins. Since you’ve added volume with the mushrooms and bacon, make sure to pack the skins completely. Some of the potato mixture will be outside the skin.
Reduce the oven to 325 degrees. Place the potatoes in a baking pan, and place back in the oven. Cook at 325 for an additional 20 minutes or until the potato mixture just starts to brown.
To serve, plate a potato, several large pieces of chicken and steamed broccoli on the side.
What did the stuffy kid say? Well, he gobbled the chicken and the broccoli, and took a few bites of the potato before claiming he was full.
In what I’ll take as a compliment, “I’m sure the potatoes were great, I just couldn’t taste them!”
Start to finish, this meal took about 2.5 hours to prepare. Much of that time was cooking time where I was able to do other things.