Friday, August 12, 2016

Recipe: Cashew Chicken

     No joke, this is how my mind works.  On Thursday evenings after I receive an email from my CSA letting me know what veggies I will be receiving on Friday, I make the weekly menu.  With my handy-dandy dry erase marker, I spend a few minutes writing out the menu on the board that sits in our kitchen for all to see.  This means that daily I will hear the question, "What is for dinner tonight?"  After years of the same process, my family refuses to adhere to my procedure.  "Look at the board, people!"

     Perhaps the one reason they do not rely on the board is that I have been known to change my mind.  Yes, I's true.  Case in point is Thursday's menu item on the board:  Chicken salad with quinoa.  Never made the dish but I have had the recipe for years.  It sounded good and it was healthy.  Then, I got on the treadmill for my daily walk to make my 10,000 steps.  I was watching Chopped, as usual.  I was watching but not fully engaged. I was thinking, "I really do not want chicken salad with quinoa.  But I have chicken ready so I need to make some sort of chicken dish."  Over the next thirty minutes or so, I hashed out ideas in my mind.  "What about a chicken in a dijon cream sauce like you used to make in France.  We haven't had that for a while and we have some French cream.  We have some potatoes so I could make a gratin."  I dismissed that as too heavy for a weeknight meal.  "What about grilling the chicken and serving it with nice lettuce from the garden and on the side make a few mini cheese quesadillas with those cute little tortillas that you picked up on the Strip the last visit."  Tempting but not on target.  And so it went in my head...

     I do not know why I settled on Cashew Chicken.  The idea banged into my head and stuck.  It was fast.  It was easy.  I had all of the ingredients.  So the menu board was wrong.  Dear Daughter asked, "What are we having for dinner?"  I replied, "Cashew Chicken."  "Well that is not on the board," was her retort.  Point taken.  Go ahead and ask me daily if you need to as you will never know if I change my mind.  I cook the meals...I can change my mind.

Cashew Chicken
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1/2 cup soy sauce
1T rice vinegar
1T brown sugar
2T oyster sauce
1/2 t sesame oil
3T vegetable oil
1lb chicken - I had chicken tenders which worked well.  Thighs would also be tasty.
1T chopped garlic
1T chopped ginger
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup sherry (can substitute chicken broth)
2T cornstarch
1 cup unsalted cashews
2 green onions, sliced

1.  In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce and sesame oil.  In a second bowl, mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup sherry or water.  Set aside.
2.  Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Brown the chicken for a few minutes.  Then, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the onions and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in the sherry or broth and deglaze the pan.  Lower the heat and pour in the soy sauce mixture.  Then add the cornstarch slurry and stir the sauce for a minute.  Add the cashews and stir to coat.  If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth.
3.  Spoon over rice and add green onions on top.


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