Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry

When I was a kid, I didn't eat anything that was green. Or grown in the ground. I was an extremely picky eater...not necessarily because I didn't like the taste (it was rare I could be convinced to try these foods), but more because I was stubborn. I remember my mom would cook asparagus at various hours during the day, including mid morning which I found to be crazy. My grandparents grew this asparagus in the garden on the farmland they lived on. It's a real shame that I didn't at least try it, because my mother claimed it was just the freshest asparagus there was.

So here I am...15 years later cooking with all sorts of ingredients from inside the ground, including asparagus. Asparagus is particularly tasty AND cheap this time of year so I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of it on the blog in the coming weeks. Last night's offering? One of my favorites from last year.

Chicken and asparagus stir fry (serves 4)

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, divided (I just used powder and it tasted wonderful, but I can't for the life of me tell you how much I put in. Probably somewhere around 1 TB)
  • 1 1/2 TB sugar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 TB rice wine viengar
  • 1 TB dark sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 TB peanut oil, divided
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB hoisin sauce
  • 3 TB chopped roasted peanutes
  • Cooked rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with the sliced scallions, half of each the garlic and the ginger, sugar, soy sauce, 1 tsp. cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinade.

In a bowl, whisk together 1 tsp. cornstarch and 3 TB water,then set aside. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 TB peanut oil and heat until simmering.  Add the asparagus and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in remaining garlic and ginger, 3 TB water, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add more water, a TB at a time as needed, to keep skillet from becoming completely dry. Transfer veggies to a plate.

Return skillet to stove top and warm the remaining 2 TB oil. Add the chicken and its marinade, plus red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the hoisin sauce and asparagus. Give the cornstarch slurry a quick whisk and add to the pan. Simmer stir-fry until thickened, about 2 minutes. Toss in peanuts. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve over rice.

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