Melange of Refrigerator Stir-Fry 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 3, 2015

Here, a quick stir-fry sauce – no Asian ingredients required -- brings leftover meat and/or vegetables together in an almost elegant way. When she doesn’t have homemade broth on hand, Silver Spring caterer Anna Saint John likes to use the No Chicken Base (vegetarian) made by Better Than Bouillon.

No leftovers to start with? The meats and vegetables are all available on most supermarket salad bars.

Serve on its own, or over rice, noodles or cooked quinoa.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth; see headnote)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Leaves from 6 stems fresh tarragon, chopped, or more as needed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or more as needed
  • 1 generous teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced celery (optional)
  • Meat from 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped (may substitute cooked turkey breast or cooked, boneless pork tenderloin; about 3 1/2 cups total)
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths (may substitute frozen peas or cooked broccoli florets)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


Combine the broth, lemon zest and juice, tarragon, bay leaf, honey and mustard in a wide saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is just below a boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Taste; you're looking for a good balance of flavors, so adjust the seasoning, herbs, honey and/or mustard as needed.

Add the diced onion and celery, if using, the chicken, roasted red peppers and green beans, tossing to coat evenly.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water in small a cup to form a smooth slurry, then whisk it into the saute pan mixture. Cook for a few minutes; the mixture needs to come to a boil so it can thicken. Taste and add salt and/or pepper as needed. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

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Recipe Source

From Washington area caterer Anna Saint John.

Tested by Anna Saint John and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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