Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onions + Coleslaw

Tomorrow is my sister's bridal shower. I am sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, my husband is at home with Octavian getting his first little taste of full time parenting. I'm not jealous. Let's be honest, this hour alone lounging in the airport, away from the mess of the house and constant need to give someone attention, well, it's like a breath of fresh air. Sitting here in the airport I don't have to worry about anyone but myself. I can just sit and watch as people come and go, moving on from one place to another.

Time moves slow when the only person you have to think about is yourself.

No wonder I was always so bored before I had Octavian.

Which is why, despite this glorious moment all about me that is much needed and long overdue, I miss him. It is one of the mysteries of children; they make you crazy almost all the time, but when you're away from them, all you remember are the good times.

For example, I've already forgotten that he stripped naked at the dog park today and went swimming in the little dog pools (he's fast!), or that he would only wear his fleece jammies to take a nap even though it was 105 degrees outside. I've forgotten that he hit me in the head with a coaster and refused to put on shorts, so I had to take him to TJs with only a shirt on (and getting that shirt on was TOUGH), or that he thought it would be fun to rake the floor with a fork.

Yep, completely forgotten.

Instead, what I do remember, is the pride in his eyes and voice when he colored his hands with markers, set them on paper, counted to three and said, "There! All done. Here's my art project, mommy". Or when he ran in and out of the house for 10 minutes bringing me teeny tiny flowers, "Mommy, flower for you!" I remember his beaming smile when he saw me after he woke up from his nap, when I picked him up from the gym daycare, and when I kept repeating, "ribbit, riiibbbbit, RIBBBBIT" over and over because his shorts had frogs on them (and I was trying to convince him to take off the fleece and put on the shorts). I remember his hugs and request to "stay home and cuddle". I remember him using the word "twice" and thinking whoa, my kid is smart!

I remember his sweetness.

So, yes, I miss him already and will continue to miss him (and his dad who is braving the trenches alone) until I get home tomorrow night.

In food news, I have the most amazing chicken sandwich for you guys.

First, we have a buttery brioche bun. Then we have juicy shredded chicken in a sweet BBQ sauce with cherries. Yes, CHERRIES. Don't worry if cherries aren't your favorite thing ever, they blend right in with the sauce and chicken and just add to the sweet awesomeness. Then, pickled red onion. So fresh, crunchy and a little spicy. Finally, creamy coleslaw. Now, usually coleslaw isn't on my list of things to eat, but it is the perfect complement to this sandwich.

It gets messy, so grab a napkin and go for it.

Seriously, just do it.

And, don't worry, despite the long ingredient list, these sandwiches are crazy easy to make. Promise :)

Well, I'm off to catch my plane. Safe travels, fingers crossed.

Cherry BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Pickled Red Onions + Coleslaw

Ingredients

4 brioche buns, sliced and lightly toasted

For the BBQ Chicken:

2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (rotisserie works great too!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups cherries, halved or quartered with pits removed
salt, to taste

For the pickled red onion:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the coleslaw:
1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

For the BBQ Chicken: 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When the water reaches a rolling boil, gently add chicken breasts, cover pot with a fitted lid and remove from heat. Allow chicken to cook for approximately 30 minutes. Carefully remove chicken from the pot to a plate and allow it to cool before shredding with a fork (or fingers). Meanwhile, while the chicken is cooking, prepare the BBQ sauce. In a medium size sauce pan heat butter over medium high heat. Add grated onion and minced garlic and mix well. Cook onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, approximately 4-5 minutes. Gently mix in remaining ingredients and bring sauce to a simmer. Allow mixture to cook on low for 15-20 minutes, taste, and make any additions you see necessary (sugar, vinegar, salt). Remove from heat and carefully stir in shredded chicken. Set aside.

For the pickled red onion:
Placed sliced red onion in a medium bowl. In a small pot bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a low boil. Carefully pour over the sliced red onion and allow onions to sit in the vinegar mixture for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. When ready to eat, drain liquid and rinse with cool water.

For the coleslaw:
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the coleslaw and mix well. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Build the sandwiches:
Lightly toast the brioche buns and pile on the toppings. First the chicken, then the onions and finally, the coleslaw.

Enjoy!
And, make sure to have lots of napkins handy :)

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