I still have my grandmother’s bent up metal spatula and, until a few months ago, her garlic press which was only capable of mashing cloves into wafer thin slabs that still required my mincing by knife. I wasn’t close to my dad’s mother who often showed her love through military organization. Instead of big chubby arm clenches, we got our grandmotherly hugs from her drawer dividers and don’t-touch soap rosettes in the wash room. Thank goodness my dad gave bear hugs. For whatever warm-touchy expression might have been hard for her to share, she shared her love through meals and well, utensils. I love that spatula and it seems to love me back. It marks the heritage of family cooking handed down from the generations. I have more remarkable, steady, kind to non-stick surface spatulas in the lot and admit, they’re more go-to while the grandma spatula supervises (anyone thinking Toy Story 4 – Forgotten Utensils). Technology usually wins out in our modern kitchens. Afterall, this is crunchtime.

Such is the case now for the wok. There’s been some wok shaming out there. For good reason.

one pan, one meal

The conical shape once perfect for both heating and stirring, but now because our kitchens no longer include giant fire pits with flames licking up the tall sides of the wok, heating is no longer efficient in these cooking vessels. Fry pans with wide bottoms and sizable edges make better contact with our burners and thus more productive stove top stir-frying vessels. Yet one is still bound to the stove.

Enter the stir-fry oven idea. I first heard about this one-pan cooking method from the mad scientists over at America’s Test Kitchen.

chicken, shiitakes & peppers, oh my

The high heat element of an oven beautifully sears proteins and produce without much effort. In the depths of summer, you might opt out of oven heat, but until then, oven stir-fry is my easiest method in the most rudimentary kitchens for achieving a quality preparation. This recipe even relies on the microwave for building a beautiful sauce. Be creative with your vegetables – asparagus, bamboo shoots, peapods (sugar snap will hold up better), etc.

oven stirfry chicken & shiitakes-holy sheet pan!

To make the chicken easier to slice thin, freeze it for 15 minutes. This dish comes together quickly, so prep and measure ingredients to start cooking the sauce as soon as you put the meat and vegetables into the oven. Serve with steamed brown rice.

preptime: 10 min                                         4 servings

baketime: 8-12 min

To make the chicken easier to slice thin, freeze it for 15 minutes.

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 medium), trimmed and sliced thin
  • 16 oz shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed, and halved if small or quartered if large
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp mirin
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias

    1.  Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees.  You are pre-heating the baking sheet to give the shock heat effect of stir frying to the chicken and vegetables. Have a heat-resistant surface cleared and oven mitts handy to make this process safe and easy.

    2. Toss the chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper, oil, 2 teaspoons of the garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the ginger together in a large bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.

    3. Working quickly, spread the chicken and vegetables in an even layer on the hot baking sheet. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through and the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 12 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting.

    4. Meanwhile, whisk the mirin, soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, remaining 1 teaspoon garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon ginger in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the sauce on high power, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

    5. Transfer the cooked chicken and vegetables to the bowl of sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

    recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

 

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