Sunday, January 4, 2009
Chicken Stir Fry, Whatever I Have in the Freezer Style
No recipe for this one, it's all method. In short: 1)Take some meat,cut it into bite sized pieces and marinate it a bit in some soy sauce and sesame oil.
2)Mix together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/2 a cup chicken (or vegetable) broth, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar.
3)Stir fry the meat in a wicked hot, well oiled pan till it's done.
4)Set it aside and pour in the sauce.
5)Let it reduce a bit then add a little corn starch/water mix.
6)Stir it till it's thick then add whatever frozen veggies you have.
7)Stir them around till they are thawed and hot.
8)Add the chicken back in, mix it up and serve it over rice.
I love stir fry. But I haven't made one in ages. So when I saw this post over at Pioneer Woman I just had to bust some out. I had a couple problems though. First and foremost a complete lack of fresh vegetables. I have trouble getting to the store on a regular basis (I know I've complained about it here before), so most of my vegetables and such are frozen. I really don't recommend trying to stir fry frozen veggies, they just turn to mush. The solution to that is to not stir fry them, instead toss them into the sauce when it's just about done to defrost and heat them up. They still aren't as good as fresh veggies, but sometimes you just have to work with what you have. The chicken you can still stir fry (provided you defrost it first) and you can still make a delightful sauce for the whole thing. Allow me to demonstrate.
This is starting off with chicken tenders. Why tenders? Because I have some. I defrosted them and chopped them into bite sized pieces. Then a little marinade while I'm getting everything else ready. Nothing fancy, just some soy sauce and sesame oil. Next, the sauce. A quarter cup of soy sauce, two tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon (or so) of rice wine vinegar, a half a cup of chicken broth and since I don't have any fresh, a tablespoon of dried, diced onion. It's not even vaguely the same as having nice chunks in there, but at least it gives it some flavor. Now, one huge thing I was missing for this is ginger. I don't even have any more dried stuff. But what I do have is a garlic/ginger stir fry oil, so that at least hinted at some gingery flavor. Now it's time to preheat the pan. You want this baby smoking hot. If it's not wicked hot it won't do the stir fry thing. You want the meat to be brown within seconds of hitting the pan. I had to do it in shifts, you don't want the meat to be more than a single layer in the pan. But anyway, toss it on, mix it around till it's cooked. Stir it while it fries, if you will. Heh. The chicken was done, so I put it aside. Now, working quickly since the pan is still mad hot, I tossed in the one fresh vegetable I had: garlic. This is just two cloves, minced. Mixed that around for just a bit, but not too long because it will burn pretty quick in there. Then I poured in the sauce. Stirred it around a bit to deglaze, then let it reduce to about a half or a third of a cup. Now it's thickening time. I mixed up a couple teaspoons of cornstarch in a quarter cup of water, but only used about half of that. Stirred it around till it was cooked, then started adding the veggies. Peppers (which should have been last, whoops), broccoli, peas. Gave them a good stir. Then I tossed in a can of water chestnuts that I didn't know I had had. Then I turned down the heat a bit and stirred them while they defrosted and heated through. Once they were set I tossed the chicken back in, stirred again and that's that.Piled up some rice and served it up. It was very good. Not as good as it would have been with fresh everything, but such is life. Now you can, of course, use any mix of vegetables, meats or whatever that you want in this kind of thing. You can go meatless if you choose, nothing but a dozen different kinds of meat, whatever you like. But don't despair if everything you have is frozen, you can still make a stir fry. To drink with it I would have loved a nice light flavored ale. Not a light beer, mind you, those are a crime against humanity in my opinion.