Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine

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Weekly Recipe: Pulled Barbecued Chicken

In honor of the start of summer in Maine (and in acknowledgement of the fact that it’s felt like summer in Georgia for about a month), I whipped out my Maine Summers Cookbook and began my search for the right recipe.

When I stumbled across “Pulled barbecued chicken with vidalia onions,” I knew it was the winner.  We’d recently been treated to a delicious, slow cooker version of pulled barbecue chicken while at a friend’s home over Mother’s Day weekend.  I hope to get a copy of their recipe, as well, but was thrilled to stumble across one of my own.  In addition, the vidalia onions honor our new Georgia home (check out Vidalia, GA, “The Sweet Onion City”).

You could easily transfer this recipe to a slow cooker, I believe.  It takes about 6 hours in an oven heated at approximately 250 degrees.  The recipe below serves 8 – I made a smaller version, between 1/3 to 1/2, but wasn’t precise enough with my measurements to share it.  The good news is, even if you don’t have the balance of ingredients exactly right, it still tastes great!

You’ll need:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Cholula or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup cola (please, I beg you, don’t substitute this with a diet version – the sugars in the original are a critical flavor element)

Preheat the oven to 250 – 300 degrees.  Place the chicken and onions in a large Dutch oven.  In a separate sauce pan, combine the chicken broth, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, cider vinegar, hot sauce, and cola over medium heat, stirring until well blended and the brown sugar is dissolved.  Pour the mixture over the chicken and onions.

Put a lid on the Dutch oven and bake in the center at very low heat for 6 hours (I reduced the heat to about 200, 225 at this point).  Check the chicken for doneness – it should be falling apart.  Pull the chicken pieces to shreds using two forks until all meat is torn apart.

Partially pulled!  Be aware, the sauce starts off red and liquidy - it boils down to this nice, dark, barbecue sauce look.

Partially pulled! Be aware, the sauce starts off red and liquidy – it boils down to this nice, dark, barbecue sauce look.

Recommended serving is with warm roles and cole slaw.  I had the initial taste last night, while my husband attended a work dinner, and skipped the side dishes entirely.


Mmm! Who needs green veggies, anyway? 🙂

Tonight, we’ll have the rest, and I plan to serve it with green beans and Ben’s Peppery Potato Wedges – another great recipe from the Maine Summers Cookbook.


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Weekly Recipe: Roasted New Potato Salad

Recently, I’ve been on a search for the perfect potato salad recipe.  Potato salad is an ideal summer cookout side and transitions nicely into fall for football tailgates, but unfortunately for me, I’ve never been a big fan of potato salads with mayonnaise-based dressings (not a much of a mayo girl, in general).  My aversion is so strong that I must admit I actively dislike and can’t bring myself to eat the premade deli potato salads that are practically swimming in the stuff.

There have been breakthroughs – a few years ago, a friend of mine brought over potato salad made according to her mom’s recipe, which was incredible – it had a vinaigrette dressing and I seem to recall capers as well (although that could be wishful thinking).  I would love to get my hands on this recipe, but in the meantime, I’ve made it my mission to find something similar that I may love even more, and I’ve had pretty good luck!  Below, I’ll be sharing not one, but two potato salad recipes that I really like.  One is from a Maine cookbook, true to form, but the other is not.  They’re both delicious and I highly recommend them for your next cookout/tailgate/dinner/potato craving.

One of these is the Roasted New Potato Salad from the Maine Summers Cookbook, found under the Sides section on page 150.

You’ll need:

  • 3 lbs red new potatoes, scrubbed
  • About 2/3 cup coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup plus two tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 shallots, coarsely chopped (I forgot to buy this ingredient – whoops!)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the potatoes on a baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and pour the coarse salt generously over them.  Roast until tender but firm when pierced, 50-60 minutes.

Sorry about the blurry phone photo!

Sorry about the blurry phone photo!

Remove the potatoes from the oven and using two pot holders, rub off the excess salt.  Place on a cutting board and cut into narrow slices (I opted to cube them, more like a traditional potato salad).  If the potatoes are still very hot, keep one pot holder on.  Transfer the slices to a bowl and immediately drizzle the white wine, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and one tablespoon of vinegar over the potatoes.  Toss and set aside.

Combine the shallots and tarragon in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process to chop finely – add to the potatoes and toss gently. (yet another instruction I failed to follow – I forgot the shallots and used dried tarragon instead of fresh)

In a small bowl, whisk together the 3/4 cup of olive oil, the remaining two tablespoons of vinegar, and the mustard.  Season with pepper, pour over the potatoes, and refrigerate for at least one hour (or up to 2 days).  Prior to serving, remove the potato salad from the fridge and add the scallions and parsley, toss gently.

Whisk away!

Whisk away!

This recipe serves approximately 8 people and was a big success at our house.  I liked it – and the highest praise of all is when a guest asks for a copy of the recipe – which one did.

Oh yum...

Oh yum…

The second comes from another cookbook that I use often for parties – The Big Book of Potluck.  This cookbook was a gift from my mom and I’d highly recommend purchasing it.  The recipe I tried is for French Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, on page 62.  I really enjoyed this potato salad – but the recipe above kept better in terms of flavor and texture over the days following its preparation.  You’ll notice there are many similarities between these two recipes – my tastes are apparently consistent!

This recipe has three parts – the potato salad, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, and a Dijon-Basil mayonnaise, which is optional.  Despite my dislike for mayo, I did make this and used it lightly as a dip – it was pretty delicious.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 new red potatoes (approx 2 lbs.)
  • 6 green onions, including some tender green tops, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

For the potatoes: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt, and lower heat to medium.  Cook the potatoes, covered, about 20 minutes, until tender.  Drain and cool under cold running water, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients (1/3 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, tarragon, oregano, salt, and pepper).

Put potatoes, green onions, and parsley in a bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and toss lightly.  Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.  Accompany with a bowl of the Dijon-Basil mayonnaise if desired, so guests can top their servings with a dollop.

For the Dijon-Basil mayonnaise: In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients (mayo, nonfat yogurt,1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, basil) until well blended, and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you try one of these, let me know your thoughts!  I am sure you’ll enjoy them both.