Pantry Diving

We’re running a bit low on interesting ingredients at the moment, and I keep diving into the back of the freezer and the bottom shelf of the pantry trying to find a little inspiration. Last night turned up a little jar of black bean-garlic paste and some frozen chicken breasts, so I combined them with half a package of fresh asparagus in a quick stirfry that was really delicious. Since I now have an open jar of bean paste haunting the fridge, I expect to be making variations of this meal for some time to come.

Chicken-Asparagus Stir-fry with Black Bean Sauce

2 T cornstarch, divided
1 T soy sauce, divided
1 T shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 T black bean-garlic paste
1/2 C chicken broth
1 T oyster sauce
1 T brown sugar, plus a pinch
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and diagonally cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T water

For marinade, combine 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, soy sauce, and sherry, with a pinch of sugar, in large bowl; mix well. Add chicken; stir to coat well. Let stand 30 minutes.

Combine 1 T cornstarch, 1 T soy sauce, chicken broth, sesame oil, brown sugar, and oyster sauce in small bowl; mix well. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from wok; set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in wok. Add onion and asparagus; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add water and cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Return chicken to wok. Add black bean-garlic paste and chicken broth mixture to the wok; cook until sauce boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Serve over rice.

Source: Adapted from Howstuffworks.

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