Chicken & Green Bean Stir-Fry

More than twenty years ago, bored suburban mothers made lopsided Christmas trees in ceramics class, and brought home a wok from Chinese cooking class at the adult learning annex. Stir-fry is as much a part of the American family dining lexicon as ground beef lasagna and ground beef tacos. My mom added pitted black olives to both. Did you know – I just read – that canned black olives are really green olives treated with chemicals? Gross. Still, I love them and will eat them forever and a day. Please don’t add ground beef or black olives to your stir-fry. But, please, make stir-fry! Tonight!

It’s fun! And healthy! Sort of! And so adaptable to whatever vegetables need using up from the fridge. Also, perfect hot weather cooking. Prep everything in advance, and you can throw it together in less than half an hour. Now is not the time to spend hours working over the burners or heating up the kitchen with the oven. We should all be outside as much as we can, lying on a blanket in the grass looking up at the trees or stars. I always thought my mom liked cooking balanced, wholesome meals for our family. Now I know she sometimes wished she was free from the tyranny of an oppressive kitchen, looking up at the trees, or stars.

Chicken & Green Bean Stir-Fry


  • 4 tablespoons sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Dash of oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 10 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, halved
  • 1 teaspoon jarred ginger
  • Drizzle of sesame oil (optional)
  • Squeeze of Sriracha (optional)


Combine sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and oyster sauce (if using) in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown. Add garlic, jalapeno, scallions, mushrooms, green beans, and ginger and cook, approximtely four minutes, stirring frequently. Incorporate the sherry/soy sauce mixture. Serve over rice with sesame oil and Sriracha, if using. For more fun, use chopsticks and drink Chinese beer. We only had Red Stripe Jamaican lager, which turned out to be a pretty awesome pairing. Enjoy!

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

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