The crockpot can generate pulled pork that unfortunately, despite my intense efforts to perfect my talents on the smoker, tastes way better than any brined, slowly marinated, perfectly wood chip smoked pork I've ever made. It can take lentils and transform them into a dreamy lentil soup. Lentils and crock pots go hand and hand my friends. They have a bit of a magical quality to them. Although some food bloggers may frown upon them, I think we might have worshipped them if they were around in Old Testament Biblical times.
Moving on to this dish. It steps a bit away from the cliche "pulled" factor of the crock pot. Yes the crock makes a delish shredded chicken and pulled pork, but it can equally be used to make amazing soups, stews and even pasta. This dish amps up the usual crock pot chili and takes it on an Italian journey. Instead of ground beef and cheese, I opted for chicken, roasted red pepper, cannellini beans, and my favorite, broccoli rabe. I admit broccoli rabe or broccolini might not be for everyone but, if you let it slow cook in these Italian flavors, it cuts the bitterness in half and makes for a great leafy green component.
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 small sweet onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less based on your taste
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe roughly chopped
- 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers
- 15 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- ½ cup chopped parsley plus more for serving
In a large crock pot add in all ingredients aside from the broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, beans, parmesan and parsley. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 4 - 6 hours. Stir once or twice if possible. During the last 30 minutes, stir in the broccoli rabe, peppers, and beans and cook for an additional 30 minutes. With two forks, lightly shred the chicken. It should easily fall apart. Stir in parmesan cheese and parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve with extra parmesan and parsley as needed.