I have to admit – I have a lot of food obsessions. Take for instance, butter. I love it. I want to cook everything in it. It is so yummy, and, obviously, so bad for me. But so yummy. You see my dilemma. One of these days I’ll share my best comfort food recipes with you, and you’ll see – they all involve a significant amount of butter.
But now, it’s SPRING! Or, at least it feels like it in Indiana. And I’ll take it. I needed something to break me out of my comfort food rut – the rut that makes me feel like the only pants I can fit into are my “big girl” pants. Winter just breeds a desire for cheese, butter, cream, roasts…all the delicious food that isn’t kind to your figure. Or arteries.
But let's forget about the health benefits for a moment. My absolute favorite thing about fresh, local midwestern spring produce is the vibrant color. It seems like in the winter we see a lot of brown, and muted greens and yellows. But then spring arrives with all of its beautifully bright green snap peas, shelling peas, asparagus, fava beans and, one of my favorite local food obsessions – baby bok choy! In anticipation of all the delicious meals I will be making with baby bok choy, I thought I’d share with you a recipe I developed several months ago. Let’s call this one Organic Free Range Chicken Stir-Fry with Lemongrass and Baby Bok Choy.
First, cut a couple boneless, skinless organic free range chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Put them in a bowl, and toss in one tablespoon of peanut oil and some sliced lemongrass. I use lemongrass from a jar – lasts forever in the fridge. Add some red pepper flakes if you can stand the heat. I used about a teaspoon with one pound of chicken. Let that stand while you do the remaining prep.
Slice four scallions into one inch pieces and set aside.
And now for the star of the recipe – chop the hard bottoms off of the baby bok choy and discard. Next, remove the large outer leaves of the stalk and rinse them well. Dirt likes to get stuck in the base. Once the larger leaves are removed, slice the remaining inner part in half and rinse. You’ll want to pat the bok choy dry – it will release a lot of water already when it cooks.
Start by heating a large, non-stick skillet over high heat. Throw the chicken in and let it brown on one side for about 2 minutes before flipping. Brown on the other side and remove from pan. If needed, add a bit more peanut oil to the pan and reheat. Add the scallions and baby bok choy leaves and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are just beginning to wilt. Add the organic free range chicken back in along with about ½ cup of peanuts. I used roasted and salted, but any will do. Continue cooking for about two more minutes. Serve immediately with cooked brown rice.