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Close up of black bean chicken

After being out of commission for the last week due to a cold, I thought I’d make something simple and quick for tonight’s dinner.   In making this dish, I cheated a little (ok maybe a lot) by using pre-made sauce from the jar and just dressing it up a bit.  This isn’t my usual MO, but sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy, I don’t mind a little shortcut.  Especially if it means dinner can be made in under 30 min and still be delicious. This chicken dish is no exception…the tender chicken pieces are dressed with a salty, savory black bean sauce and sweetened by the caramelized onions and fresh red bell pepper.  The aroma was out of this world.  I’ve made this dish several times in the past and its definitely a keeper.

On a totally unrelated note, I still can’t believe that its still bright outside at 7pm.  I’m so used to starting dinner prep at 6pm, after its gotten dark, that this whole light business has thrown me off.  The whole time I was cooking dinner tonight, I was looking out onto our (still) sun-lit patio, thinking I cooking way too early.  But it is nice in its own way.  Now we can go for after-dinner walks if we’re so inclined.  🙂

Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
3 stalks green onions, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 T vegetable oil
2 T black bean sauce
Dash of Kosher salt
Dash of black pepper
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 c. water

This is the black bean sauce I used.  Yes, straight from the jar.  I have no shame.

This is the black bean sauce I used. Yes, straight from the jar. I have no shame.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot and simmering, add the minced garlic to the pan.  Cook the garlic until it turns a light golden-brown, approx 30 seconds.  Add the thinly sliced onion pieces, sauteing with the garlic and adding more vegetable oil if necessary.  Saute the onion until it begins to caramelize.  In the meantime, prepare the chicken by cutting it into small, bite-size chunks and seasoning with a dash of salt and pepper.  Once the onions have begun to caramelize, add the chicken to the pan, browning each side.  Add the 1/4 cup of water to the pan, bring to a simmer and cover, allowing the chicken to cook, approximately 7-8 minutes.

Then, remove the lid and add the red bell pepper and black bean sauce.  Mix.  Allow the chicken to continue to cook, uncovered, for several more minutes.   While this is happening, prepare a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 t. cornstarch with approx 4-5 t. of the liquid from the pan.  Mix well to ensure the cornstarch has completely dissolved, then add the mixture back into the pan.  Once the sauce has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked, add the diced green onions and mix.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal.

Notes: I served this dish alongside Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter and they went surprisingly well together.  The savory flavor of the asparagus dressing complemented the salty black bean sauce nicely.

Chicken in Black Bean Sauce