Do you ever find yourself in a cooking rut, making the same thing over and over and not able to really think of new things to make? I definitely do, especially on weeknights. Our household is usually buzzing with homework or running kids back and forth from sports, making it extremely hard to prepare a delicious healthy meal that takes much attention due to lack of time.
In the last week I’ve been preparing more Chinese-inspired dishes and a long lost love has come back to me: Stir Fry. When I was in college I got a wok as a gift and used it all the time. It was one of the few things I cooked along with baking Beer Bread (which could not be easier) and a chicken recipe of my Grandmothers that involved Shake-n-Bake and Cream of Celery soup….but we’re not going to talk about that.
What I love about stir frying is the ease of it. No special culinary skills are needed. Only fresh ingredients are used. AND of course the fact that it takes less than 10 minutes to cook is fantastic! The preparation of the ingredients is a bit more time consuming and the mise-en-place (having all the ingredients in place) is critical because the cooking is so fast; there is no time once you start to measure or chop anything since each phase is generally 30 seconds to a few minutes.
After making the Spicy Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice recently I was craving another fresh, healthy dish and decided to make Orange Chicken and Romenesco Stir Fry with Clementines. As I was preparing the ingredients I was so excited by the colors of the dish. I think there is something about colorful food that is so enticing. I for one am always drawn to fresh, colorful dishes and this is no exception. The fragrance while cooking it fantastic with the ginger, garlic, onion and citrus. The thing I marveled at the most was how quickly it was done! In minutes it was done with moist, succulent chicken, crunchy romanesco and the warm citrus flavor of the clementine segments that still hold a natural structure and don’t turn droopy and sad for being tossed for a few minutes in the heat.
If you aren’t familiar with Romanesco it is a mild-flavored cruciferous vegetable in the broccoli and cauliflower family. It is available in the fall and now through the spring, liking cold weather for growing. Its alien form of prismatic lime-green florets is its most eye-catching feature certainly, but I love the texture and flavor. If it is not available I’d substitute traditional broccoli to this recipe.
In becoming reacquainted with the fresh, healthy, easy stir fry I’ve vowed to make it in some form at least once a week. For those with little time, preparing the ingredients beforehand and storing them in the refrigerator allows a 10 minutes meal. And one undoubtedly better for us than something you’d slap in the microwave!
Orange Chicken and Romenesco Stir Fry with Clementines
- ¼ cup Orange Juice
- 2 tablespoons Tamari (soy sauce may be substituted if the dish does not need to be gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil , divided
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper , seeded and diced
- 2 large Garlic Cloves , diced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger , peeled and diced
- ½ Yellow Onion , chopped
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper , seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups Romanesco florets (TIP: for larger florets make an X in the bottom of the stem with a knife for better cooking); broccoli may be substituted
- 1 pound boneless skinless Chicken Breasts , cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 2 Clementines , peeled and divided into segments
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- Garnish: Sliced Scallions , white and light green portions
- Prepared Rice (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, Tamari sauce and cornstarch. Whisk to fully combine and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet on medium-high. Add the 1 tablespoon of the oil; when rippling can be observed on the oil’s surface it’s hot (less than 30 seconds).
- Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno to the wok and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
- Add the onions and the bell pepper; stir-cook for 1 minute. Remove the vegetables from the wok and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the chicken and cook until the outside becomes white (a few minutes). Add the Romanesco and cook 3-5 minutes until it begins to turn darker green.
- Add the orange juice mixture to the wok and allow to heat for a few seconds. As it thickens toss the chicken and Romanesco to fully coat.
- Add the vegetables that were set aside and toss to combine. Add the clementine segments and lemon zest and toss a few times to incorporate. Serve immediately garnished with scallions.