Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bourbon Chicken

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I love Chinese food. I hate that it is usually loaded with sodium and a lot of the meat is deep fried. About an hour or so after eating Chinese take-out I’m usually regretting my decision due to stomach pains. Even before all my GI issues started last year I began making my own Chinese food. I scoured the internet for healthy make-at-home versions of Chinese take-out. I found this recipe and, over time, slowly tweaked it to this version.

Since we are not juice drinkers, I like to buy apple juice boxes (look for 100% juice; Mott’s and Trader Joe’s brands are my faves) so that I don’t waste a large bottle of juice. Definitely one our our favorite meals, this dish pops up often in our menu rotation. I love it because it’s easy and you can use any veggies you want. Sometimes I buy the ready cook stir fry asian veggies from Trader Joe’s. It doesn’t get any easier than just tossing in the precut veggies; all I have to do is cut up the chicken.

The chicken can be cut into chunks before cooking, but because I detest handling raw meat, I opt to cut it after it’s mostly cooked. I'm less grossed out this way.

I prefer to serve this over noodles, especially wide rice noodles, since they soak up all the yummy sauce and cook quicker than brown rice. The vegetables could also be sauted in a separate pan and added after the chicken has simmered in the sauce, but I'm lazy and I usually don't want to dirty another dish.

Bourbon Chicken
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serves 3-4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch fresh Broccoli, trimmed
1-2 bell pepper(s), large dice
~1 c baby carrots
~1 c sugar snap peas
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
Cooked brown rice or asian noodles (rice noodles, lo mein noodles, or soba noodles)
Sesame seeds, for garnish

for the sauce:
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
~1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c apple juice
1/3 c light brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 small navel orange, juiced and zested

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl (I use a 4 c measuring cup), whisk to combine and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet (or pot or dutch oven; something big enough to hold all the chicken and veggies). Add chicken, cook until lightly browned on each side, remove and set aside to rest several minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Add about a Tbsp of sesame oil to the pot and sauté the veggies a few minutes until crisp tender. Pour sauce ingredients into pan and heat over medium heat until well mixed and sugar dissolves.

Add chicken and bring sauce to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (I leave the lid slightly askew to let some steam escape), or til chicken is cooked through. I like to add a slurry (1 Tbsp cold water + 1 Tbsp cornstarch, stir in, boil one minute, then remove from heat) at the end to thicken the sauce. Serve over cooked rice or asian noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Source: adapted from RecipeZaar

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