Friday, May 11, 2007

Chinese Chicken with Black Beans (and mayflowers!)

Oh, to have had a couple of boxes of Stouffers (or Lean Cuisine) in the freezer last night! It happens every spring, too much to do, no sunset at 5pm to tell me to “stop and make dinner”, and no energy at the end of the day to prepare anything (much less the creativity to actually think of what to cook).

The weather was very warm (another July-in-May day) and I didn’t look forward to turning on the stove so I decided to use the electric wok which my friend Jan so thoughtfully gave me for my birthday. :) I have to admit, for a piece of cooking equipment that I didn’t think that I needed, this has turned into a wonderful addition to my collection of kitchen paraphernalia!

Although this wasn’t exactly quick and easy (that is what microwaves are for), it probably didn’t take much more than a half-hour to put together. The sauce is thick and spicy with that salty taste of the black beans a very dominant flavor.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chinese Chicken with Black Beans

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

---------- ---------- --------------------------------

2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon black bean sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium

2 teaspoons fermented black beans -- optional if unavailable, but really "makes" the dish

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons canola oil -- divided

10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast -- cut into strips

2 large garlic cloves -- minced

6 ounces bell pepper -- colored preferred; cut into 1/4" wide strips

5 ounces zucchini -- cut into 1/4" strips

3 ounces snow peas -- sliced diagonally into strips

2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth through ginger and set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat and drizzle, into the center portion, one teaspoon of the canola oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry for one minute. Sprinkle in the garlic and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes more or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and garlic from the wok to a small bowl and set aside.

Reheat the wok, drizzle in the remaining one teaspoon of oil, and add the peppers. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, add zucchini, cook for a minute, add snow peas and continue to stir for another 2 minutes Add the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Mix the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water in a small cup and drizzle that into the broth, stirring constantly, until thickened. Turn off heat and tir in chicken garlic mixture for a minute to heat through.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 309 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat; (23% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 82mg Cholesterol; 540mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 14 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

The mayflowers are blooming! I love these little woodland plants, and they’re only around for a few weeks each year. This is a bunch of them, growing in the woods at the back of our property:

And this is a closeup of the flower. The plant is also called a “may apple” because the flower, before blooming, is a small white ball hanging underneath the leaves and resembles an apple (?). I’ve never really understood that, so I just call them mayflowers.