This post is sponsored by Foster Farms chicken locally grown in the Pacific Northwest, but all opinions are my own.Those of you who are long-time readers of this blog know that I love cooking with locally grown and produced foods. I also tend to adopt the flavors indigenous to the place I live. When I lived in Arizona, we ate Mexican food. When I lived in Florida, we ate Southern food and seafood. Now that I am in the Northwest, we are enjoying Asian flavors along with the plethora of fresh produce grown here. Washington by far produces more fruits and vegetables than any of the other states I’ve lived. I am in cooking heaven here! Local food tastes so much better than the stuff that has been on trucks, planes or boats for a week!
For these Kung Pao Chicken Zucchini Boats, I used Foster Farms Simply Raised chicken breasts and locally grown squash and bell peppers. I appreciate Foster Farms because they work with 32 farms here in Washington and Oregon. Several of the farms have been Foster Farms partners for several family generations. Simply Raised chickens were raised with no added hormones or antibiotics or steroids. The Foster Farms company was founded in 1939 by Max and Verda Foster, who raised turkeys right off their bedroom where they could keep an eye on the eggs and chicks. It continues to be a family-owned company today, with the Foster’s grandson, Ron Foster now at the helm. Because they work with local farmers, their chicken is delivered to the stores in 48 hours or less. That’s just about as fresh as it comes!
My family loves Asian food. It helps that Seattle is the closest US mainland port to that continent. We have no problem finding ingredients for Japanese, Chinese, Thai or any Asian cuisine. I love that I can use so many vegetables in that type of food and my kids don’t object a bit. It’s all about the flavor, flavor, flavor!
As I cut up the Foster Farms chicken, I couldn’t help but notice how tender it was. I had three pounds to cut into small cubes before I started cooking and the job went much faster than I thought it would. I am impatient when it comes to food prep, but this time, it seemed to go quicker than it normally would.
The results were fantastic. Because I am gluten intolerant, I don’t get to eat at many restaurants. Soy sauce commonly has wheat in it, so I have to search for a gluten free version. This Kung Pao Chicken was so good, I suddenly didn’t mind that I had to make it myself! It wasn’t super spicy, but had a nice amount of heat. The zucchini boats added a nice lightness to the dish.
Kung Pao Chicken Zucchini Boats
3 pounds Foster Farms Simply Raised boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp avocado, peanut or grapeseed oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp chile paste
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
6 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
5 medium zucchini, sliced in half with seeds scooped out
4 cups cooked rice
Place the zucchini boats on a cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet or wok, cook chicken in sesame oil and 1 Tbsp avocado oil over medium high heat, stirring often.
When the meat is almost completely cooked, add the ginger and garlic.
Continue cooking another few minutes until the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Remove the meat and aromatics from the pan into a bowl.
Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the peppers and onions.
Stir and cook until the vegetables are soft.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, chile paste, soy sauce, agave and cornstarch.
Add the broth to the vegetables and bring to a boil.
While stirring, add the chile paste mixture.
Continue stirring until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat.
To serve, place rice on plate first, top with zucchini boat, ladle Kung Pao chicken onto zucchini and top with toasted sesame seeds.
This post is sponsored by Foster Farms®, the opinions expressed are my own.