Here's why I love stir-frying: It’s quick and easy, and the prep work can be done early in the day. Whenever my family is ready, I can have dinner cooked in 20 minutes.
I used to stir-fry almost exclusively with Asian flavors, but I’ve branched out. Here, I’ve adapted the idea of coq au vin, a classic dish of chicken stewed with mushrooms and onions in red wine. It’s delicious, and lighter than the original. Instead of thickening the sauce with a butter-flour mixture, I use cornstarch, which does the job without adding fat.
In a nod to Asian cuisine, I serve this over rice, but you could easily substitute buttered noodles.
Use a wok if you have one; if not, a large nonstick skillet or shallow braising pan will work fine.
Make Ahead: The chicken and mushrooms can be sliced, and the onion chopped, up to 8 hours in advance, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.
Servings: 4 - 5
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or peanut oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips 1 1/2 inches long
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion (4 ounces), finely chopped
- 1 pound white and/or cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
- 1 cup no-salt-added or homemade chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (may substitute water)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large wok, nonstick skillet or shallow braising pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper to taste. Working in batches, add the strips to the hot wok, skillet or pan and cook without stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned; then turn them over and stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw look. Transfer to a clean plate and repeat, adding the remaining oil as needed, until all of the chicken is cooked.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion softens. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the mushrooms and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the mushrooms have softened and cooked through and their liquid has reduced. Carefully add the red wine and cook until it reduces by half, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir the cooked chicken and the broth into the onion-mushroom mixture. Combine the cognac, water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring until the cornstarch has dissolved. Once the liquid in the wok begins to boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook until the sauce thickens; taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling at the edges. Just before serving, stir in the parsley. Serve warm, over rice or noodles.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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