Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cashew Chicken

I went through a serious stir fry phase a couple years ago.  I mean, really, I went a bit overboard.  Finally, the husband had to let me down gently and remind me that Asian cuisine, while delicious, is not all life has to offer.


Besides discovering that the husband's taste buds will in fact burn out on soy sauce, I learned a little something from my stir fry phase.  I learned about mise en place.

Mise en place is just the fancy-pants French way to say everything in it's place.  I overcooked A LOT of stir fries before I realized that you must, really must, have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to dump in the skillet before you get started.  Otherwise, you risk loosing a digit due to hyper-speed chopping.  Not good.

Cashew Chicken
From "Great Food Fast"by the good folks at Everyday Food
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped coarsely
Cooked white rice, for serving

Toss the chicken with the cornstarch until the chicken is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.  Cook half the chicken, stirring regularly, until browned, about 3 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining oil and chicken to the skillet along with the scallions.  (If you like a bit more onion-y pizzazz, add only the white parts of the scallions here and stir in the green parts with the cashews at the end.)  Cook, stirring often, until browned, about 3 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking.  Return the first batch of chicken to the pan.  Add the vinegar and cook until it's evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Add the hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup water; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in cashews.

Serve over white rice.

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