Moist and flavorful chicken breasts! Yes, it’s true. And this is thanks to Cook’s Illustrated’s hardcore recipe testing. The “Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Broccolini,” from the September/October 2012 issue (recipe below), supports and pushes the “cook without stirring” method. This is the key, here: resist the urge to stir. You’ll get fantastic burnishing and great taste.

I always approach the Cook’s Illustrated recipes knowing I must adhere to the precise timing and measurements. I will be rewarded for my careful mise-en-place; I know this. And it’s not too tedious -- just follow the rules. Enjoy the strong smell of the sauce in the pan: oyster sauce + soy sauce + sugar + vinegar + molasses + fish sauce. Wow. When you allow the chicken and broccolini and the noodles to absorb this potent sauce (without stirring!) it’ll all brown wonderfully. The broccolini will retain just a bit of crunchiness, which is always pleasant. Your diners will love this meal.

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Broccolini
Cook’s Illustrated, September/October 2012
serves 4

1/3 cup white vinegar
Sriracha sauce
2 (12 oz. total) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tsp. baking soda
8 oz, (1/4-inch-wide) rice noodles
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 eggs
10 oz. broccolini (5 cups), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks cut on bias into 1/2-inch pieces

1. For the Chile Vinegar: Combine vinegar and some Sriracha in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
2. For the Stir-Fry: Combine chicken and 2 Tbsp. water and baking soda in a bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
3. Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in the boiling water and turn off the heat. Let sit until almost tender (8 minutes), stirring halfway. Drain and rinse with cold water and mix with 2 tsp. oil.
4. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in a bowl.
5. Heat 2 tsp. oil and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet on high heat until garlic is golden brown (1 to 2 minutes). Add chicken and 2 Tbsp. of sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Push chicken to one side of the skillet. Add 2 tsp. oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
6. Heat 2 tsp. of oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 Tbsp. sauce and toss to coat. Cover skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove the lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
7. Heat 2 tsp. oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half of noodles and 2 Tbsp. sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 tsp. oil, noodles, and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooking, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve immediately, passing chile vinegar separately.

PRICES:
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (12 oz.) = $4.41
Broccolini (10 oz.) = $4.58

PREP TIME: vinegar and chicken sit for 15 minutes, noodles soak for 8 minutes, prep and cooking might take 30 minutes or more
TASTE:
the sauce hits all the right points: salty, sweet, tangy, umami; moist chicken and crispy broccoli are a pleasure

Next time, I will indulge in recipes from the September 2012 issue of Eating Well. I’ll make the “Salami & Spinach Stromboli” (where I’ll get to enjoy prepared pizza dough once again) and the “Oyster-Stuffed Artichokes” (where I will shuck like a crazy woman). Come back to my site soon, to see what happens.