Stir-fries are a great way to combine vegetables and proteins to get a one-pot dish in hurry. Because their cooking time is short, they also tend to showcase the natural flavor of the quick-cooked vegetables. To optimize those flavors, keep the Asian seasonings light.
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons light or low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and tenderloins, then cut into 1-inch-wide strips, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long (reserve tenderloins for another use; may substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs and adjust cooking time accordlingly)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 3- to 4-ounce onion, halved, then cut into thin slices (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium or 2 small red bell peppers or sweet red peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into matchsticks 1 to 1 1/2 inches long (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup minced garlic chives (may substitute minced green chives)
- 8 ounces Swiss chard, washed, each stalk cut in half or in thirds
- 1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup sherry (may substitute dry white wine)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the chicken, mixing to evenly coat the chicken.
Heat enough of the vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add about half of the chicken strips and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until the strips lose their raw look and start to brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the strips to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
With the wok or skillet still over medium-high heat, add oil as needed. When it is hot, add the onion and pepper. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic chives. Stir-fry just to incorporate, then add the chard and the broth, using tongs to toss the mixture. Cover and reduce the heat, adjusting it as needed to keep the broth bubbling at the edges. Let the vegetables steam for 8 to 10 minutes, just until tender.
Meanwhile, combine the sherry, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl or measuring cup.
When the vegetables are tender, uncover the wok or skillet and add the chicken and any accumulated juices, the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil and the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium, stir to combine, cover and cook for about 3 minutes, so the chicken can finish cooking in the broth.
Uncover and add the sherry-cornstarch mixture, mixing well; increase the heat to medium-high to bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Check for doneness and taste for seasoning, adding sesame oil or soy sauce as needed. Divide among individual plates and serve immediately.
From In Season columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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