Tuesday, June 1, 2010

peanut butter green beans

Mmm, peanut butter. Growing up, lunch every day for years on end was a peanut butter and grape jam on white. After school, my favorite snack was peanut butter on a spoon. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like it would be. As a 30-something professional, my tastes are naturally more urbane. Thai noodles in spicy peanut sauce (courtesy of my dear friend Matt and more recently christened 'peanut butter spaghetti' by my BIL) is a dinner standby, prepared at least twice a month for the last 10 years. Then there's satay and anything else on a dinner menu that includes peanuts as an ingredient. Oh, and dinner when the hubby's away is often the very upscale peanut butter and grape jam on white bread. Peanut butter is my constant.

So when pondering what to do with the green beans from the CSA this week, this girl's thoughts inevitably turned toward peanut sauce. I was quite happy with the dish, and the sparkling clean plate in front of Joe at dinner's end was a visual clue that he enjoyed the recipe as well.

As recommended by Ms Amy I in her blog, it probably goes without saying that it's a really good idea to prep everything before getting started on the stir-fry. The recipe (from Tyler Florence's Eat This Book) calls for a side of tofu, but we didn't have any tofu on hand so we cut up some chicken tenders and sauteed them for a few minutes in some of the peanut sauce. I think it would have been lovely with some fresh tofu. And maybe over some soba noodles.

I've gotta say, crunchy green beans with a peanut sauce is one of my favoritest combinations in the world. When I order a dish in peanut sauce at Thai restaurants (it's the only menu item at Nit Noi I've found enjoyable so far) and I'm so full I can't eat another bite, I invariably pick out the green beans and munch on them, one by one, because I can't bear for them to lie fallow. The sauce in this recipe is very similar to what I've had at good Thai restaurants (and at Nit Noi). I'm not sure of the ethnic origin of the garnishes but I will say that the fresh jalapeño slices provided the perfect spicy kick to the experience. I left some of the seeds in the slices. For a milder taste, seed the chiles after slicing.

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Peanut Sauce and Chiles

Adapted from the Playing House blog, adapted from Eat This Book by Tyler Florence

1/2 cup peanut oil
1 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (I used dried chives, because that's what I had)
2 dried red chiles (ok, didn't have this at all, but I had a couple of red chiles in a jar of jalapeños in the fridge, so I pulled them out and tossed them in the mix)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock, homemade or storebought (vegetarians: substitute vegetable broth or water)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 strips of orange zest
3-4 chicken tenders, cubed
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, sliced crosswise into rounds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, optional

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, add the beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Very carefully, drain all but 2 tablespoons of the hot oil into a heat-proof bowl.

Add the ginger, garlic, green onion, and chiles to the oil remaining in the wok and stir-fry until you can smell the fragrance of the aromatics, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Return the green beans to the wok and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir the chicken stock with the cornstarch to make a slurry and add that to the wok. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, peanut butter, and orange zest. Transfer about a tablespoon of the sauce to a small saute pan, add the chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. Add the cooked chicken to the stir fry. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and the beans are tender, 5-7 minutes.

Garnish with the sliced jalapeño, peanuts, and cilantro, if desired. Serve with steamed rice or soba noodles.

2 comments:

  1. What a fabulous recipe. I found your blog by chance but I must say it was a happy accident. I was lured into reading some of your prior posts as well and spent far more time here than I had intended. You've made this an easy and enjoyable place to visit. I'll be back as often as I can. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  2. delish! thanks for being my new "epicurious" - anything i want to make, search here first!

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