There’s a dish like this in every culture: chicken curries, coq au vin, chicken paprikas, tagine chicken, red-braised chicken, chicken mole. The list is endless. You braise some chicken with tasty stuff. Scoop it ’til the last drop. Feel better. Sleep better. Be a better person. You know the deal.
It’s the end of October, and squashes, gourds, and pumpkins are everywhere — on people’s doorsteps, dining tables, and planted like portly pebbles on city park displays. But it doesn’t take witchcraft to turn winter squash into a hearty meal. It doesn’t even take a long time to cook! Here, some butternut squash slices are steamed first, then quickly stir-fried. And for a little scare, in keeping with the season, I’ve given them a Sichuan kung pao lick of spice.
No need to reach for a jar of Asian plum sauce now that the stone fruits are in season. These juicy slices cook down quickly to a jammy sauce that’s much more tangy and refreshing. Smothered on tender chunks of chicken, with a splash of soy sauce, it’s savory and satisfying, too. I’m now convinced that the old sweet-and-sour stir-fry routine must have been prompted by fresh plums.