There’s something about massive amounts of freshly ground black pepper that is wildly delicious with ZERO effort! Big, bold flavors from good’ol black pepper in this black pepper sauce make this chicken breast, bell pepper, and onion combination one FULL of flavor and simple preparation! Love a little Chinese food take-out fake-out! And…easy meal for the win! Always!
Where do the weeks go? This week actually felt a bit long – a few late nights, and now a sick dog. We suspect a UTI and did you know that you can reach an online vet at 11:30pm at night who can send in scripts to your local pharmacy? WHO KNEW!? Poor old girl is miserable and we hope she finds a bit of relief soon. There is, however, the weather to bring her joy. This is totally her type of weather – long, lazy days spent moving her cuteness along with the moving sunshine.
We’ve got a busy weekend of soccer, a birthday party, and a quick jaunt over to Chicago to see my family for an early Mother’s Day celebration and to squeeze the many rolls and never-ending cuteness of my nephew (and niece). Most of all, we’re looking forward some SUNSHINE! It FINALLY looks like spring is here to stay!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Weeknight Meal: Chinese black pepper chicken is a dish that will become a family favorite and better yet, this meal is ready in 30 minutes or less. Copycat recipes like these make for meal preparation that is even quicker than take-out from a Chinese restaurant. That’s pretty darn fast!
- Single Skillet: Made in a single, large skillet or wok, this meal is low on dishes making it EXTRA ideal for a weeknight meal…or any night! No one likes dishes!
- Black Pepper Fans: I think I fell in love with black pepper as a worthy flavor after visiting Singapore and having chili crab…and then having black pepper crab. Mark still asks me to make black pepper crab – it is THAT good. And what does it contain? Some oil or butter, some salt or source of salt, and lots of black pepper! With a main sauce ingredient of black pepper, the ingredient list stays nice and short!
- Meal Prep People: This meal is one that can be prepped ahead of time for a 15 minute meal and prepared ahead of time for meals for the days ahead. Place some cooked rice in each individual container and top with this easy black pepper chicken recipe – boom! Delicious meals for days, for the entire family…a great option for those busy lives!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Shaoxing Wine: Traditional in Chinese cooking, Shaoxing wine may be a bit hard to spot in stores. No worries! Dry sherry is a great substitute. You may also use mirin, a sweet Japanese cooking wine. If you do use mirin, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by half. Rice vinegar isn’t the best option with the lack of alcohol, but you have a few options to substitute the Shaoxing – don’t fret!
- Chicken: This recipe uses tender, lean chicken breast however, chicken thighs can most certainly be swapped in their place.
- Peanut Oil: The flavor of peanut oil is out of this world! Vegetable oil is a perfectly fine substitute. I would avoid sesame oil, however. While it is an Asian cuisine staple, the flavor is a bit overpowering for the black pepper.
- Bell Peppers: Any combination of colors is good here. I love the bite of a green bell pepper with the black pepper, but the sweeter orange, yellow, and/or red bell pepper provides great flavor contrast.
- Soy Sauce: Opt for low sodium soy sauce varieties to avoid an overly salty finished product. Coconut aminos can also be used in place of soy sauce.
- Corn Starch: You can potato starch or arrowroot starch in equal amounts to cornstarch if you’re looking for a substitute. Add to room temperature liquid ingredients, especially with arrowroot.
- Black Pepper: You can certainly use whatever peppercorn (Szechuan peppercorn, yesss!), but the ideal is a freshly ground peppercorn so that the flavor is fresh and bold.
- Ginger and Garlic: Fresh is best but to keep this weeknight friendly and ready fast, the jarred or tubed varieties are great!
- Dairy-free with no changes – love it!
- Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos to make this meal gluten-free.
- To decrease the amount carbohydrate when serving, serve with quinoa or cauliflower rice versus rice. This meal is naturally low in carbohydrate if serving as a main without the rice, too!
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, AND TIPS
- Cut the chicken against the grain so that it is most tender when using lean cuts.
- Aim to have the chicken pieces cut to similar size and thickness to ensure an even cooking without under or overcooking the meat.
- Prep the vegetables before beginning. Consider measuring ingredients, as needed, prior to starting. The cooking will go quickly once you start!
- Serve with steamed white rice for a traditional offering.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. If you wish to freeze, do so in individual portions for up to 3 months. Thaw before heating in the microwave.
- Shredded crunchy celery, carrots, pea pods or snow peas, baby corn, or bok choy would make for fun additions to this recipe to add in those extra veggies!
- Feel free to finish off this dish with sesame seeds or sliced green onion – total up to you! The pop of color and texture is fun, while adding a bit of extra nutrition!
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp peanut oil
- 1 Tbsp minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
- Combine soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch in a medium bowl, whisking well to combine. Add the chicken and toss to coat thoroughly. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all sauce ingredients and prep the ginger, garlic, onion, and bell peppers.
- Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is beginning to brown. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until no longer pink and nearly cooked through; remove to a place.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic; stir for 10 seconds or until fragrant. Add the onion and bell pepper, increase heat to high, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes before serving hot.
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Omnivore's Cookbook
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1/5 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 845mgCarbohydrates: 17.4gFiber: 1.8gSugar: 7.6gProtein: 31.2g
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