You already love pulled chicken, so why not try a fresh new take in the slow cooker? Succulent chicken thighs simmer to saucy perfection before being piled high on a toasted bun and topped with tangy slaw. As peppers go, habaneros contain more capsaicin (the compound that contributes spicy heat) than jalapeños, but removing the seeds and membranes brings that heat down considerably. We suggest wearing gloves for handling, as the heat can linger on your skin. The vinegar in the slaw balances out the sweetness of the habanero-apricot sauce, while the vegetables provide an added crunch to the sandwich. Serve with sweet potato chips or a simple green salad.
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. minced habanero chiles (seeds and membranes removed), divided
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups very thinly sliced cored red cabbage
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, lightly toasted
Est. added sugars 6g
How to Make It
Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken in bottom of slow cooker.
Combine apricot preserves, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons habanero chile, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and garlic in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour apricot mixture over chicken in slow cooker. Toss to coat. Cover and cook on LOW 5 hours.
Combine cabbage, carrots, radishes, basil, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir together lime juice, oil, remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon habanero, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a separate smaller bowl. Add to cabbage mixture; toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Shred with 2 forks; place in a large bowl. Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; discard fat. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into juices in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken back to slow cooker; toss to combine.
Place 5 ounces chicken mixture on each bun. Top each with 1/2 cup slaw.