Chicken and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

After a few days worth of cheesy meals (which don’t get me wrong, were super delicious), I decided somewhat lighter far was in order.  Stir-frys always seem a good bet to me in that respect and so I chose a simple one that I’ve made a few times in the past, where the main ingredients consist only of chicken, red peppers, and onions.  Until fairly recently, I was under the impression that stir-frys needed to be chock full of veggies- the more the better- but for some reason, despite the over-abundance of ingredients, they always came out bland.  One fateful day though, as I was perusing the interwebs looking for something I could cook with ingredients on hand, I came upon a Thai-inspired chicken and basil stir-fry- one where only the chicken and basil were the star ingredients (and the delectable sauce that is), and that was a huge success.  After that I had a revelation- simple sometimes equals better.  Since then, I’ve gone for simple stir-frys, and I haven’t turned back yet.

This recipe comes from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast which I only received a few months ago for Christmas, but have so far not been steered wrong by.  The recipe is for Stir-Fry Wraps, where they suggest serving the Stir-Fry in leaves of Boston lettuce.  Now, this sounds delicious, but last night I decided to go with a more standard side dish of Jasmine rice.  Maybe next time though…. They also suggest trying it served in tortillas, which sounds excellent as well.

Chicken and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
Course salt and feshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp. water
Rice for serving. ( I used Jasmine rice, but you can use Basmati rice, or really whatever type suits your fancy)
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil over high heat.  Add half the chicken; cook, stirring constantly, until opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
2. Add the remaining tbsp. oil to the pan, along with the onion and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is tender and golden, about 4 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).
3. Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. 
4. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch mixture; remove from the heat.  Add the chicken and any accumulated juices; toss to coat.
5. Serve over rice. (Or in Boston lettuce leaves, or tortillas!)

Notes: I, unfortunately, do not have a large nonstick skillet (or I suppose I should say I have one, but it is no longer nonstick), so I used my regular large stainless steel saute pan, and lo and behold the chicken stuck, but hey, it was still delicious.  I actually cooked the chicken and veggies at a medium high-heat because my burners tend to run hot (and I’ve been afraid of cooking with oil and high heat ever since the time I almost lit my kitchen on fire when some hot oil burst into flames).  The cooking times remained the same though on the lower heat- and I did end up having to turn the heat down when cooking the peppers and onions.  I also didn’t seem to have quite a pound and a half of chicken last night, so I added extra bell pepper, and there was still definitely enough.

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