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Flavorings punch up faux stir-fry

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By Joe Gray
Chicago Tribune
  • If you're stuck with a limited selection of herbs and seasonings or no wok to cook with, this iron skillet stir-fry still makes a great meal.

    Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune

    If you're stuck with a limited selection of herbs and seasonings or no wok to cook with, this iron skillet stir-fry still makes a great meal.

Cabin cooking is different than regular cooking. Where's the salt? How old is this oregano? Why don't we have a good vegetable peeler up here?
Darn, forgot to buy herbs.
Like many people who vacation at a summer getaway, we adapt, especially since a well-stocked grocery store is a 40-minute boat and car ride away.
I once made a large batch of gazpacho for six people with no tools but a dull knife (sigh) and a cutting board. (No electricity in cottages on our small Canada lake.)
Which is why I called this dish a faux stir-fry when I served it this summer.
I had some chicken and a few vegetables. Someone had thought to bring soy sauce. But we had no spices or other condiments that would give the dish a Japanese or Chinese flavor profile. And certainly no wok.
Yet with a huge cast-iron skillet and lots of stirring, we had an approximation.
If you're not reading this in a remote cabin (or you're organized enough to stock that kitchen well), then reach for chopped chili peppers, red pepper flakes, fresh cilantro, freshly grated ginger -- any flavorings you might like to punch up this faux-fry.
Or just rough it.
Cabin stir-fry
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon sugar, if needed
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken (thighs or breasts) cut in 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 carrots, sliced 1/8 -inch thick
3 bell peppers, mix of red and yellow, in 3/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, in 1-inch chunks
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Steamed rice
Whisk together the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce if you like. If tart, add a little sugar. Pour over the chicken in a bowl. Allow to rest while you cook the vegetables.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry the carrots until crisp-tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add more oil to skillet, if needed. Repeat, in separate batches, with the peppers, then the onion.
Drain chicken from the marinade, reserving marinade. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir-fry chicken, in batches if necessary, until cooked through, 8 minutes.
Return vegetables to the skillet with the chicken. Pour in the reserved marinade. Heat until the marinade boils; cook for 1 minute.
Transfer all to a serving bowl; stir-fry the green onions for 1 minute. Scatter them over the chicken and vegetables.
Serve with the rice and more soy sauce.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 376 calories, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 158 mg cholesterol, 17 g carbohydrates, 31 g protein, 719 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.
Story tags » CookingFood

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