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Kung Pao Chicken

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On the Food & Wine website there is a section entitled "Quick from Scratch Chicken".  This collection includes 75 recipes that range from Chicken & Brussell Sprouts over White Bean Rosemary Puree to Orecchiette with Chicken, Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese. 

Dishes to fit any taste and all are meals that can easily be made on hectic week day evenings.  This recipe comes from that collection.

This was super easy to make and packed full of flavor. Both Hubby and I were big fans of this homemade version of a takeout favorite.

The original recipe is below.  If you prefer your meals a little spicier, as we do, up the 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper flakes to 3/4 tsp and if you really like it hot, add one fresh red chili pepper, minced.

Also, be careful while cooking the peanuts. It's easy to overcook them, which as Alton says is not "good eats".

As for the wine pairing, this is what F&W has to say: "Since the chicken is salty and spicy, the drink's first job is to refresh. An aromatic white wine such as a sauvignon blanc from California or South Africa will do nicely, as will your favorite cold beer."  I didn't have any Sauvignon Blanc on hand, but we did have a nice Rose, which paired really well with it.

Kung Pao Chicken

1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup peanuts
4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
 
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sherry, and the 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sherry, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the peanuts and stir-fry until light brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the white part of the scallions and the red-pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy-sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the peanuts.

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