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Smokey Pulled Chicken

Smokey Pulled Chicken

Created by Steven Cross, Secondary School Caterer of the Year 2018 at the EDUcatering Excellence Awards, smokey pulled chicken with black beans, smashed avocado and pineapple salsa served with chargrilled Cajun sweetcorn rice.

As Steven puts it… “This South American inspired chicken will get all my students taste buds tingling and I know it is always a winner come lunch time. Light, zesty with a slight chilli kick, it really helps my students’ get through the toughest of days.”

  • Medium
  • Serves 10




  • 400g Tilda Brown & White rice
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 limes
  • 2 bunches coriander
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans
  • 3 red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 pineapple
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4 red chillies
  • 1 x 340g tin sweetcorn
  • 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp blackened Cajun spice
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.1ltr chicken stock
  • 5 tortilla wraps


  1. For the Pulled Chicken - Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas Mark 4 and get yourself a baking tray large enough for a whole chicken.

  2. Add the smoked paprika and 1 tbsp of olive oil and the juice of a lime to a mixing bowl and mix into a paste, then massage into the chicken.

  3. Pop the chicken into the oven and cook for 1.5 hours, making sure to baste it well as it roasts.

  4. Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to rest on a chopping board for 10 – 15 minutes covered in tin foil.

  5. Pull all the brown meat from the chicken (legs, thighs, oysters) then remove the breasts and shred the white meat making sure to add in that tasty skin. Mix the meat in a large bowl with the juice of half a lime and the chopped coriander stacks.

  6. Cover the bowl until ready to serve.

  7. For the Black Beans - Drain the black beans in a colander. Finely dice a red onion, grate a clove of garlic and warm ½ tsp of olive oil in a sauce pan, then cook until you start to see some caramelisation.

  8. Add the drained beans - you are looking for the beans to pop, open up and almost go puffy/fluffy. These only need to cook for 5-10 minutes then leave to one side until ready to serve.

  9. For the Smashed Avocado - It is as it says, smashed avocado! Firstly peel the avocados and remove their stones, then add 1 clove of grated garlic, the juice of 1 lime, and half a bunch of chopped coriander.

  10. Once we have everything together it’s hulk time - smash smash smash with a fork, rolling pin or your hands!!

  11. Leave to one side until ready to serve.

  12. For the Pineapple Salsa - Let’s get chopping! This is so tasty and really helps to spice things up. Start off by finely chopping the pineapple into small cubes.

  13. Dice 1 red onion, 4 large tomatoes (de-seeded) and 4 red chillies, being careful as these puppies burn! Then mix into the pineapple.

  14. Grate 1 clove of garlic, chop one bunch of coriander and zest/juice 1 lime and add this to the mix.

  15. Give everything a good stir and allow the flavours to combine for a taste explosion.

  16. For the Crispy Tortilla - This is the easy bit! Just cut each tortilla in half, lightly oil and oven bake until golden brown. You want these to be the crunch so don’t under do it, texture is good!

  17. For the Chargrilled Cajun Sweetcorn Rice - This rice dish is great and can go with any Southern American dish. Start off by dicing 1 red onion and grating 1 clove of garlic.

  18. Drain off the sweetcorn and leave to one side.

  19. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan until almost smoking, then add the onion and garlic and stir. We want colour but not burnt.

  20. Now add the sweetcorn! This will pop, fizz and bang but that’s the plan - we want to get some charring on the sweetcorn for good flavour.

  21. Stir in the rice, chilli powder, Cajun spice, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and chicken stock and bring to the boil for 5 minutes then reduce to a simmer.

  22. Cover with tin foil and allow to gently cook and soften, leave for 15 – 20 minutes then check.

  23. Once soft and fluffy remove from the heat, add half a bunch of chopped coriander and serve.