I like a good meat and potatoes dinner as the next person. But more often, I prefer a dish like this one: the meat is there, and it definitely stands out, but it plays an accent role to the many vegetables. It’s hearty, but you can fill up and know that you didn’t completely destroy your diet for the day.
This is a dish my mom has been making for thirty-some years. It’s definitely better with the splash of sherry, but if you don’t prefer to cook with alcohol, feel free to leave it out – but in that case, you might want to amp up the flavor with a teaspoon or two of brown sugar, a dash of rice wine vinegar, or additional ginger.
What you need:
- white rice (plus water for cooking)
- vegetable oil
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- 2 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal
- 1 onion, sliced in thin strips
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in chunks or strips
- 1 small zucchini, sliced in half moons
- 1 small head broccoli (plus water to steam)
- 1 c. cold water
- 1 t. better than bouillon, beef flavor
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 1 T. ginger
- a splash of cooking sherry, optional
- Optional additions:
- 1 c. snow peas
- 1 c. sliced mushrooms
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained
- 1 bell pepper, any color, cut in 1″x1″ pieces
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Optional garnishes:
- green onions, sliced
- dry-roasted peanuts
- toasted sesame seeds
- measuring cups and spoons
- large skillet with lid
- wooden spoon
- cutting board and knife
- small jar with lid (about 2 c. capacity)
Time: 45 minutes
Freezeable: The stirfry mixture can be frozen separately from the rice.
Multiplying the recipe: You would need to cook each batch in a separate pan.
In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat water for rice. (For long-grain white rice, use twice as much water as rice.) When the water is boiling, add the rice, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Stir, and then allow the rice to rest, covered, an additional 5 minutes.
While the water is heating up, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a generous dash of vegetable oil and allow it to warm for 30 seconds. Add the carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the carrots are softening and browning. Add the celery, onion, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes more.
Add the chicken and zucchini to the skillet and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, until the chicken is beginning to turn opaque and the zucchini is softening.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a lid, boil a small amount of water. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add broccoli and water to the skillet.
While the broccoli is steaming, place the 1 c. water, bouillon, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, and sherry, if using, in a small jar. Cover with a lid and shake to combine. Add the contents of the jar to the skillet.
At this point, additions such as snow peas, peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts, or green onions may be added to the skillet. Cover the skillet and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes longer, until the chicken is cooked through, the vegetables are softened, and the sauce is thickened.
Serve the vegetable-chicken mixture over rice. Toppings such as green onions, peanuts, or sesame seeds add visual appeal, crunch, and flavor.