Every once in a while I make a recipe that I'm not quite sure what prompted me to move it to the front of the list and actually prepare it. But, I'm REALLY glad I did. This is one of those. Other than the cream of celery soup (Joy of Cooking) that Mom fixed for me after some major surgery in 1985, I can't remember a recipe where celery played such a leading role. And, back in 1985, I was in NO condition to request cream of celery soup. This, however. was a totally conscious decision. And, what a decision it was. This pretty quickly made it onto our top 30 list and may even be on our top seven list.
Chicken in my book is a blank slate. Most of the time it has to be paired with some very interesting ingredients to get my attention. Yes, fried chicken is an exception. But, look at the recipe for Lemon Brined Fried Chicken. That's not a short ingredient list. It is, however, some of the BEST fried chicken we've ever had. This, however is chicken and celery. Add some ginger and soy sauce and you've got some of the best chicken ever. My guess is that this would be equally incredible with shrimp and maybe crab. At any rate, whatever you do, please try this. The ginger adds a fragrance and a scent and a flavor that's incomparable. The celery has some crunch that doesn't overwhelm. And, the chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful. Incredible!!
Stir Fried Chicken with Celery
2 t cornstarch
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg white
3 T veg oil
1 1/2" piece ginger
5 ribs celery,
1 1/2 T light soy sauce
Cut chicken into 1/8 thick strips. It's a bit easier if the chicken is tossed in the freezer for a bit before being cut. Tosss it with the corn starch, egg white and a pinch of salt. Set it aside for 10 minutes.
Peel and finely dice the ginger. The best tool I've found to peel ginger is a spoon.
Cut the tough green end off the leek, then cut it in half and rinse it well under cold running water. Leeks tend to contain a lot of grit. Once the leek is rinsed and dried, chop it. Chop the celery ribs diagonally into 1/4" slices.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok or 14" skillet. Swirl it around to coat. Add the chicken and stir fry it for about 2 minutes.
Stir it constantly. Once it's opaque, remove it from the wok and transfer it to a plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Once it's heated, add the ginger and leek.
Stir fry for about 30 seconds. The ginger aroma will about knock your socks off! Add the celery and stir fry for about a minute until it's crisp yet tender. Finally, add the chicken back in along with the juices that accumulated on the plate and the soy sauce. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked through. That'll take one to two minutes.
We served our chicken over brown rice with some diced water chestnuts and green onions stirred in.
I also scrambled the leftover egg yolks and tossed those into the rice.
adapted from Saveur