Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus, Snowpeas and Mushrooms

    The title of this dish tells you almost exactly what's in it.  And you're thinking Chinese, right?  Nope.  Not a speck of soy sauce, not a smidgen of sesame oil...not even a drop of chile paste.  Surprised?  So what are the flavors?  Bright and tangy lemon, tender chicken, fresh, crunchy snowpeas, earthy mushrooms and sweet asparagus. The flavors are clean and decidedly Spring! 

    We love this for a quick dinner, but the bite-size pieces  make this a great dish for a large crowd, too.  Those occasions when you have a lot people over who end up balancing plates on their laps?  This is the dish to won't need a knives and forks!  

    I like to serve this with either a buttered rice brightened with a little chopped parsley and sliced green onions when I'm feeling fancy and have the time - or I just serve it with plain brown rice like pictured above.  To round out the meal, maybe a green salad or a fruit salad and some good bread - maybe even some fresh blueberry muffins to highlight the spring feeling!  

    And yeah, I know it isn't spring yet, but I'm sure dreaming of it...aren't you?  Especially after the snowflakes were flying today.  I'm hoping that by bringing out some early spring flavors in my cooking (and maybe some store-bought daffodils for a centerpiece...just to pretend) then maybe, just maybe, the real spring will get here sooner?  Maybe?  Yes?

    Lemon Chicken with Asparagus, Snowpeas & Mushrooms

    Serves 4

    • 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into medium-sized chunks
    • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1tablespoon lemon zest
    • 1/3 pound snow pea pods, fresh, whole, stem ends removed
    • 1/2 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off, sliced diagonally into 2" pieces
    • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms

    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 2 teaspoons water
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Combine chicken with 2 t. of oil and 2 t. cornstarch.  Toss together in a bowl until chicken is coated.

     Heat 2 T. oil in a skillet and sprinkle the oil with salt.  Add chicken and saute until it just cooks, but doesn't brown.  Remove chicken to a plate.
    Add the veggies to the pan and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender and then add chicken back to skillet.
    While the veggies are cooking, stir together the remaining 2 t. cornstarch, 1 T lemon juice, the stock, water and salt and pepper.  When the mixture is smooth, pour it over the chicken and veggies in the skillet.  Stir until the sauce thickens and serve over rice.

    NOTE:  Double, triple or quadruple (etc., etc., etc.) the recipe to serve as many people as you need to.  This is naturally gluten-free!

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