Pulled Chicken and Beans in Pumpkin Barbecue Sauce

Pulled Chicken and Beans in Pumpkin Barbecue Sauce

Community training session demonstration dinner, 3/12/12 – served as sandwiches with whole wheat hamburger buns

This recipe is all about being healthy and economical. Beans are cheap and nutritious, and they stretch the more expensive chicken. And if you can find a stewing hen (an ex-laying hen), the chicken can be a bargain. Stewing hens are pretty tough and require long cooking times, but the flavor is well worth the wait. The addition of pumpkin to an East Carolina-style barbecue sauce adds flavor, nutrition, and texture. All in all, it makes for a filling, tasty, and inexpensive meal.

Beans (or substitute 1 can beans, any variety)

  • ⅔ cup dry beans, any variety
  • ½ onion (optional)

Chicken (or substitute 10 oz cooked chicken meat, can be leftovers)

  • 1 small chicken or stewing hen, whole or in pieces
  • ½ onion (optional)
  • ½ carrot (optional)
  • ½ stalk celery

Pumpkin Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ can pumpkin
  • salt

Beans (For more information on cooking beans, see the dry bean guide):
Soak dry beans in ample water for 8-24 hours, then drain and rinse.

Place soaked beans and onion (if using) in a pot and cover with water by 4 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, 1.5-2 hours.

Beans can be cooked up to 5 days in advance and stored in their cooking liquid in the fridge. Or, substitute 1 can beans.

Chicken:
Place chicken and vegetables (if using) into a large pot or slow cooker and cover with water. If using a pot on the stovetop, bring to a simmer and allow to cook without boiling until cooked through and tender, 45 minutes for chicken and 3-4 hours for stewing hen. If using a slow cooker, cook on low until cooked through and tender, 2-4 hours for chicken, 7-8 hours for stewing hen.

Remove the chicken from the liquid. Strain the liquid and save it – this is homemade chicken stock/broth that you can use in many recipes. Remove the skin from the chicken and pull all meat off the bones. Shred with your fingers or a fork.

Note: chicken can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, or you can use leftover cooked chicken.

Sauce:
Combine all ingredients except salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add cooked chicken and cooked beans and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve on buns as a sandwich.

Yield: 12 sandwich portions

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