Chicken Stir-Fry

The summerlike weather we’ve been experiencing the past couple of weeks has been a boon to gardeners, especially those whose produce has yet to be hit by a killing frost. And let me add stir-fry enthusiasts to that group.

Vegetables such as zucchini, yellow summer squash, eggplant, peppers and onions, all of which still can be found in a lot of backyard gardens, are perfect for stir-frying.

Just last week, I used all of those plus some sliced celery and Asian spices in a tasty stir-fry. And I can envision at least a couple of more stir-fry meals using the fresh ingredients before freezing temperatures end the growing season.

Not all stir-fry dishes are vegetarian. Beef and poultry are popular meats that can be found in a lot of entrees, such as the following, which pairs Asian flavorings and techniques with vegetables grown here and chicken.

Chicken Stir-Fry
1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil, plus more if needed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece (1½-inch-long) ginger, peeled, minced
1 each, chopped: red pepper, onion
2 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
½ cup hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted (see note)
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
Place chicken in a shallow dish; pour soy sauce over. Allow to marinate 20 minutes while preparing the vegetables.
Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat just until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Add oil, swirling it into the wok to coat the sides. Stir-fry garlic and ginger until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add red pepper and onion; stir-fry until the onions just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the corn kernels and black beans; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
Add another tablespoon of cooking oil to wok if needed. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Stir-fry chicken pieces and chili garlic sauce until fully cooked, about 3 minutes. Add back vegetables; lower heat to a simmer. Cook, letting flavors mingle, 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin seeds; garnish with green onions.
Note: To toast pumpkin seeds, heat in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they puff up a little and brown slightly. Pepitas also are available at ethnic markets and grocery stores.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 462 calories, 20 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 78 milligrams cholesterol, 35 grams carbohydrates, 41 grams protein, 547 milligrams sodium, 9 gramss fiber.