I owe you all a belated hello! I’ve been away from this site for a while, but for a good cause. Paulo and I started a business last year, and it has been going very well, even better than we had hoped. For that reason my time has been limited. But we have continued to eat tasty vittles, and I’ve now found a little time to share some of them with you.
I love winter. I love the frosty clear air, the crystal blue skies, and the snow that falls silently through the pine trees and settles throughout the forests. Winter has its own kind of magic. But in late February thoughts of spring begin to surface. Thoughts of budding branches and warm breezes and colors, gorgeous colors, as the first blooms appear. This stir-fry is perfect for late February. Adapted from a recipe provided by Nicola Graimes, it is warm, spicy, and rich, great for cold weather, and yet also bright and fresh like impending spring. And it is quick and easy to make, excellent for busy schedules.
Sweet Chili Stir-Fry with Asian Spiced Polenta
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/3 cups polenta
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder or Thai 7-spice powder
1 T butter (or high-quality butter substitute)
1 tsp honey
3 T sweet chili sauce
2 T soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 T peanut oil
1 onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1-inch length of ginger root, peeled, cut very thinly crosswise into coins
12 oz broccoli florets, cut into smallish bite-sized pieces
5 baby bok choy, stems sliced crosswise, leaves left whole
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 hot chile, thinly sliced crosswise
Pour the stock into a saucepan and whisk in the polenta. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until thick. (Cooking time depends on the particular polenta you use.) Stir in the spice powder, butter, and honey, along with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and set aside.
Whisk together the chili sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. In a wok heat the peanut oil over high heat until it is shimmering. Add the onion and ginger. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, bok choy stems, garlic, and chile, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in the chili sauce mixture. Heat through. Fold in the bok choy leaves.
To serve, spoon the polenta into individual serving bowls and top with the stir-fry. (Don’t eat the ginger coins!)