Let's talk about entertaining for a moment. I get lots of emails and questions about cooking for large groups. So many people shy away from it. They feel they could not possibly pull off a meal for a crowd of more than four people.
I'm here to tell you, you can. There are so many options and so many simple meals you can make to feed a crowd. And now that it's football season, it's time to invite a group of friends over and make a big pot of something wonderful to serve.
Have you ever braised anything before? It's a wonderful two-step cooking method that leaves meat "fall-off the bone" delicious. And you can do it in the slow-cooker, something that has really taken on popularity over the past few years.
In my current work with Sargento Cheese, investigating culinary trends (see my first post), the method of braising meat has been named as a trend to watch. The act of braising consists of searing (browning) the meat on the stove to enhance the flavor and then finishing the cooking in a covered pot for a long, slow simmer. This method is used quite often with tougher cuts of meat but it also works well with chicken.
These chicken sandwiches are so easy to put together if you have a crowd coming over for any occasion. They are hearty and delicious and full of yummy, melty cheese.
I decided to keep the sandwiches simple because I really wanted the flavors of the few ingredients to speak for themselves. The chicken you see above is how it looks after braising in the slow cooker for several hours.
While the chicken is warm, slice it into pieces (skin on). Build your sandwich with the braised onions from the slow cooker and I chose to use Sargento's Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian. The cheese and onions are really all the sandwich needed to knock it out of the park. It reminded me slightly of chicken parm, but in a very non-traditional way. I think it was all the lovely Italian cheese flavor (especially Asiago) and crusty chicken skin. Honestly the sandwich would have worked well with so many of Sargento's cheese flavors, but the Italian blend was what I was craving. It's one of my favorites.
Loading up a bunch of these sandwiches for a crowd couldn't be easier. If the meat is still warm it will melt the cheese. If it's not, put them together and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with pickles on the side and enjoy the day!
Slow Cooker-Braised Chicken, Onion and Cheese Sandwiches
- 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken cut into pieces
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, quartered and layers separated
- 1-3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 6-8 buns
- 2 cups Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- In a large frying pan over med-high heat, add olive oil and sear chicken until brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
- Layer onion pieces on the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Place chicken pieces on top. Add chicken stock and wine and cover. Cook on low heat for 3-1/2 hours.
- Slice chicken pieces off the bone leaving the skin on. Fill each bun with about a 1/4 cup of cheese and place chicken and onion pieces on top. If necessary place sandwiches in a 350 degree oven to melt the cheese and warm the chicken. Serve immediately.
- This recipe can easily be doubled but I would add an hour or so to the cooking time.
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Disclosure: The following content has been sponsored by Sargento. Please support this wonderful family brand who continues to make posts on this blog possible. While I have been compensated for my time, all opinions are my own.