Basil Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Note: This cooks quickly over high heat, so be prepared before you start. From “Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner,” by Stacie Billis.
• 5 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
• 4 tbsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp. chicken stock
• 1 tbsp. cornstarch
• 4 tbsp. neutral oil, such as grapeseed, plus more as needed, divided
• 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into 2-in. pieces
• 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
• 12 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
• 2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-in. thick strips (multiple colors look good)
• 5 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 c. (about 2 oz.) fresh basil
• Cooked rice, for serving, optional
To make the sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, stock and cornstarch in a small bowl or medium measuring cup; set aside, keeping the whisk close by.
To make the stir-fry: Place a large skillet or wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and as soon as the oil is shimmering — which may be immediately — add the green beans and bell peppers. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, tossing frequently, until just tender and charred in spots, about 4 minutes.
If at any point the oil cooks off or the mixture begins to burn, reduce heat to medium-high (but not lower). You can also add a small additional glug of oil.
Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the garlic and pepper flakes to the open space in the middle. Cook, keeping them contained in the center space, but moving them around to prevent burning for about 20 seconds.
Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet or wok and toss everything together once. Give the sauce you made a whisk (the cornstarch settles to the bottom otherwise) and add it to the pan. Cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the basil, and serve immediately over rice, if desired.