Warm weather comfort dish

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This chicken dish keeps mess to a minimum while providing summertime comfort food. Photo by Keri White

Since when do we only need comfort in the winter?

Matzo ball soup, macaroni and cheese, roast chicken and mashed potatoes all provide a much-needed culinary hug, but they are better served in cold weather.


But what about those of us who are feeling a little wobbly in August?

I came up with a simple chicken dish, sort of a deconstructed lo mein, which used one pot, looked pretty, made a lot and reheated well. I used a combination of green and wax beans and sliced carrots for my veggies, but anything would work: broccoli, cauliflower, peas, greens, summer squash — just be sure to cook them to a tender crisp and not mush.

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By cooking everything sequentially in the same pot and setting it aside as each step was complete, I kept the mess to a minimum and had an efficient, streamlined assembly at mealtime.

Here’s what I did, in order:


Summer Comfort Chicken with Noodles and Veggies

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the vegetables

3 cups assorted vegetables (can include green and wax beans, sliced carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, greens, summer squash) cut into bite-sized pieces

Pinch salt

1 cup water

For the noodles and sauce

Note: if you cannot find Chinese egg noodles with cooking instructions on the package, you can use any fresh or dried pasta cooked according to the package.

2 packages fresh Chinese egg noodles

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

½ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon honey

Sriracha or hot sauce to taste, optional

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the chicken and marinade

1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly on diagonal into bite-sized pieces

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

¼ cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

A few drops of Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce, if desired

2 tablespoons canola oil for sautéing

Sprigs of cilantro for garnish

Directions

Make the vegetables

Place the vegetables in a pan with the salt and water; bring them to a boil.

Cover and simmer a few minutes until crisp yet tender. Drain and set aside.

Make the noodles and sauce

Mix the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, hot sauce (if using) and cilantro in a small bowl and set aside.

In a pan, heat the canola oil and add the noodles, breaking them up with tongs or chopsticks.

Add the water and stir until the noodles are separated and cooked, about three minutes. Drain and set aside.

Make the chicken and marinade

In a large plastic bag or a container that seals well, place all the marinade ingredients and shake until well blended and the chicken is coated.

Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator several hours to overnight. Thirty minutes before cooking, bring it to room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and dump the chicken with marinade into the oil. Using tongs, flatten the pieces of chicken, turning and rotating them until fully cooked, about six minutes.

When cooked, push the chicken to one side of the pan. Add the noodles to the center of the pan and the cooked vegetables alongside the noodles, creating three distinct sections.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables, garnish with additional
cilantro and serve.

Keri White is a Philadelphia food writer.

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