This throw-together dinner was a total experiment, courtesy of the pineapple I was given as a gift and that had been sitting on the counter for a week, staring at me judgmentally. It desperately needed to be used before it went bad. I also had a couple chicken breasts and some veggies that were nearing the end of their lifespan, so I decided to put them all together with some Asian-inspired seasoning and see what happened. As I suspected, this dinner was delicious - so much so that I'm sharing it here so you can try it for yourself!
The first step is searing the chicken over medium-high heat to seal in the moisture. About halfway through cooking the chicken, add the vegetables (I used bell pepper and carrots, but feel free to get creative: snow peas, cabbage, broccoli...the possibilities are endless). A little garlic and ginger lends a beautiful fragrance to the pan, and once the sauce is added, it all comes together for a really nice balance of flavor. Served over Jasmine rice, this is a quick and easy dinner that's a little sweet, a little savory, and a lot delicious!
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast or thigh meat, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 green onions, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp cornstarch (if needed for thickening)
Sesame seeds for garnish
In a medium-sized bowl, combine broth, pineapple juice, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. Whisk with a fork to incorporate, then set aside.
Add peanut oil to large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped chicken. Sauté for about 5 minutes, taking care not to stir too often.
When the chicken begins to brown, add bell pepper and carrots to the pan and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Clear a space in the center of the pan and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about one minute until golden and fragrant, then stir to combine.
Add the sauce to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Let simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken. If the sauce is still watery, stir 1 tsp cornstarch into 1 tsp water in a small bowl, then add that liquid to the pan and stir to incorporate.
When the sauce has reached desired thickness, remove from heat and stir in pineapple pieces and green onion. Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with sesame seeds.
Olive oil can be used in place of peanut oil.
I haven't tried this with canned pineapple, but if that's all you've got, go for it!
If you're using a fresh pineapple but it doesn't yield quite enough juice, you can supplement with canned pineapple juice as well.
A pineapple coring tool is an excellent way to reserve the juice from a fresh pineapple - just place the pineapple in a bowl while coring to trap the liquid as it drips out.
I recommend low-sodium soy sauce, since this recipe uses a lot. If standard soy sauce is all you have on hand, you may want to use a little less of it when mixing your sauce to keep it from tasting too salty. If you need more liquid to replace what you've omitted, use a bit more broth, or even a splash of water.
Voilá - a quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!