Mark Bittman, the celebrated New York Times food writer, recently wrote an article titled “Chop, Fry, Boil: Eating for One, or 6 Billion.” In the article, Bittman argues that the key to changing one’s eating habits begins with eating real food rather than going on a fad diet.
“The problem is, real food is cooked by real people — you! — and real people are cooking less than ever before. We know why people don’t cook, or at least we think we do: they’re busy; they find “convenience” and restaurant foods more accessible than foods they cook themselves; they (incorrectly) believe that ready-to-eat foods are less expensive than those they cook themselves; they live in so-called food deserts and lack access to real food; and they were never taught to cook by their parents, making the trend self-perpetuating.”
In answer to this cooking conundrum, Bittman sets forth three easy, nutritious and sustainable recipes that any person should know how to cook. The recipes are simple and can be varied in countless ways. The first two recipes, chopped salad and rice and lentils, make fairly regular appearance on our dinner table. The third recipe, though, was something I rarely, if ever, cook: stir-fry. Following Bittman’s recipe for Broccoli Stir-Fry with Chicken and Mushrooms, I delved into the land stir-frys. The dish was quick and easy to make, used standard pantry ingredients and tasted delicious. In fact, I’ve already made it twice this week. How’s that for a girl who rarely repeats a recipe?
Yield: 4 servings.
2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, the stems no more than 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks or thin slices and blotted dry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper.
Make the Broccoli Stir-Fry with Chicken and Mushrooms
1. Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add the broccoli, mushrooms and all but a sprinkling of the scallions. Raise heat to high, and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water and broccoli is bright green and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with salt; add 1 cup water. Stir and cook until almost all liquid evaporates and broccoli is almost tender, another minute or two more, then transfer everything to a plate.
3. Turn heat to medium, add remaining oil, then remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add chicken and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has lost its pink color, three to five minutes.
4. Turn heat to medium. Return broccoli, mushrooms and juices to the pan, and stir. Add soy sauce, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper; add a little more water if mixture is dry. Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced slightly and you’ve scraped up all the bits of chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with remaining scallion and serve.