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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chicken and Basil Stir Fry: Sometimes husbands just have to take matters into their own hands…

Hey foodies, it’s Stew. As many of you know, my wife Lindsey is 38 weeks pregnant. You know what that means?? Pain everywhere…from the back to the stomach…from her shoulders down to her feet. The last thing a 38-week pregnant woman wants to do is figure out “what’s for dinner”…so sometimes husbands just have to take matters into their own hands…and that’s exactly what I did tonight. The wife was feeling horrible (but super hungry) and so I “volunteered” to cook dinner (I actually had to insist since sometimes our wives can be reluctant to turn over the apron and spatula). So I turned to a cookbook that I bought for my wife a while ago, Fresh Flavor Fast (from Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food" books). As I flipped through recipe after recipe I honed in on what sounded good to me to eat (fortunately we both have similar tastes and it turned out that this sounded good to Lindsey too….whewww!).

I love THAI food (like a lot…see this link)!! I didn’t always like it but it is something that I have come to love more and more after each plate. Lindsey is actually the one that opened my eyes to the wonderful flavor of basil. In dishes like this one, some people actually describe the taste of basil like that of mint, cinnamon, or licorice. Personally, I always seem to find the licorice taste…but that is okay with me because I love black licorice. Adding the basil after the stir-fry is off the heat is key to keeping the flavor bright. This dish really isn’t spicy…it’s more about the wonderful mix of flavors. The rice-wine vinegar adds SOO much.


So here it is…

Chicken and Basil Stir Fry
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into thin strips)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 red bell peppers (you can use red, green, or a mix), ribs and seeds removed, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
6 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar (we were out of this…so I mixed rice cooking wine with rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ cups fresh basil (regular or Thai basil)
Cooked white rice, for serving

Directions:
1. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Toss chicken with cornstarch until completely coated; season generously with salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil, over medium-high. Cooke half the chicken, turning once, until browned on both sides but not completely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken; transfer to plate.
3. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, along with the onion and bell peppers; cook over medium heat, tossing often, until vegetables begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the water, vinegar, soy sauce, and chicken; cook, tossing, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. REMOVE FROM HEAT (very important step). Once removed from heat…stir in basil leaves. Serving over rice is a MUST.

I hope you like this dish…it’s really good and the taste is amazing…serious. If you don’t believe me, try it. Let me know what you think (especially about the basil).

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