Because of where we live in Ohio, Growing Zone 6a, our peach production can vary widely. Some years can bring a killing (or at least severely limiting) frost at just the wrong time for the blossoms and young fruit; other years can conspire against a good crop with ill-timed rain or drought conditions. This year, we had just the right combination of sunny warmth and sumptuous rains to gift us with a bevy of peaches.
I was able to harvest four and a half buckets of yummy fruit, leaving the hardest to reach for the birds without regret. We had fresh, sumptuous peaches for breakfast and dessert every day for ten luscious days. I froze bags for future use. Some of our sliced bits of sweetness currently sit in mead turning it into melomel. I also threw some halves into a jar with my favorite concoction to create a version of rumtopf for the holidays this winter.
Before we were all peached out, I decided to try a more unusual sampling that raised a high eyebrow from my husband when I mentioned it—peaches with chicken, stir-fry style. Thankfully, he’s an adventurous eater and was rather pleasantly surprised with the dinner created that night.
The recipe below (like most of my recipes) is tailored to our particular palates. I would urge you to try it as is and then change it at will to bring smiles to your own faces. Add more spice with the heat of some chiles or alter the amounts of ginger and garlic. Throwing in more vegetables is a great way of changing things up—I happened to have kale in abundance from the garden just then. Another way to shift this recipe would be to add the peaches at the last minute for more intact peaches.
• 1-2 chicken breasts (cubed)
• 1 tsp ginger (grated)
• 1 tsp garlic (chopped or minced)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp mirin (cooking wine)
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 peach (diced or sliced)
• 2 leaves kale (chopped)
• oil (for cooking)
• sesame seeds for topping (I use both white and black)
• rice or rice noodles
• corn starch for thickening (I actually rarely do this, but it is used as shown in photo)
•toasted cashews (chopped for topping)
1. Combine all ingredients down to the kale (chicken, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, honey, vinegar, and peaches) and let marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight). The longer you marinate, the more the peaches will break down. If you prefer to see and feel the peaches rather than simply tasting the flavor, hold them out of the mix until the last minutes of cooking.
2. Start rice (assuming you are using a type that takes at least 20 minutes). Pour a small amount of oil into wok or pan and heat to medium high. Add meat mixture and stir-fry until it is cooked over the surface of the chicken. Remove and set aside. Add more oil to pan and stir-fry kale. I often add a little water and a lid and let my kale steam a little to help soften it. If you are using other vegetables, stir-fry them as well. When they are nearly ready, add back in the meat mixture.
3. If you prefer a thickened sauce to one that is more brothy, stir in a mixture of about a half cup of water combined with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir constantly. Spoon over rice or noodles and top with sesame seeds and/or toasted cashews.
While the photo shows this dish over white rice, we also use brown rice, brown rice noodles, pad Thai noodles, and Maifun noodles. Try it over your favorite grain choice. Hopefully, this peachy dinner will bring smiles to your taste buds and companions.
Photos by Blythe Pelham
Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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