Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state’s agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

Springtime is the right time for asparagus. This month, KRCC’s Hannah Sohl follows the vegetable from farm to table.

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See below for recipes for Asian Noodle Salad and Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry from Colorado Springs School District 11 Chef Brian Axworthy, and for Warm Bacon Asparagus from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


Asian Noodle Salad
Colorado Springs District 11 Lunch Menu
Chef Brian Axworthy

Makes 4 Portions

Ingredients:

½ c Soy Sauce
½ c Chicken Stock
2 T Ketchup
¾ c Brown Sugar
½ t Granulated Garlic
½ t Ground Ginger
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Pinch Sesame Seeds
1 T Cornstarch
1 T Cold Water
½ lb Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs
2 oz Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
2 oz Broccoli, chopped into small florets
2 oz Carrots, ¼” diagonal slice
2 oz Celery, ¼” diagonal slice
2 oz Green Beans or Snap Peas
1 ½ c Brown Rice
3 c Water

Procedure:

1. In a small saucepan, bring the 3 cups of water to a boil for the rice. Once boiling, add the rice and reduce the heat to low-medium. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the moisture is absorbed and the rice is done. (Hint: If the moisture seems to be gone, but the rice is still a little tough, place the lid back on top and keep cooking on low heat until the rice is at the desired texture. The moisture from the rice around the edge of the pan will provide the necessary steam to finish the cooking process. Never add more water unless absolutely necessary.)

2. While your rice is cooking, make the sesame-soy marinade and stir-fry sauce. In a small saucepan, add the soy sauce, chicken stock, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds and bring to a boil. Remove ¼ cup of the mixture and reserve for marinating the chicken. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and whisk into the boiling liquid. Bring the sauce back to a boil. Taste and reserve…the flavor should be strong.

3. Trim 1-2″ off the bottom of the asparagus (this part is harder to eat) and discard or use for asparagus soup. Cut the remaining asparagus into 1″ pieces. Prepare the remaining vegetables as instructed.

4. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil to cook your vegetables.

5. If grilling the chicken, add the ¼ cup of soy-sesame glaze and allow the chicken to marinate for 1 hour before grilling (Hint: when cooking chicken breasts in a pan or on the grill, it’s best to pound or flatten the chicken breast until the thickest part of the breast is equal to the thinnest part of the breast. This allows for quick, even cooking without drying out the final product.) Grill the chicken until done and slice into strips.

If sautéing the chicken, cut the boneless breast or thighs into strips and add the ½ cup of sesame-soy glaze. Marinate for 10 minutes before sautéing with a little sesame and canola oil. Sauté the chicken over high heat until done and reserve.

6. Add your cut vegetables to the boiling water and steep for 30 seconds. Strain and add the vegetables to your cooked chicken followed by adding your thickened stir-fry sauce.

7. Serve the stir-fry over the rice and enjoy. Once comfortable with the cooking techniques, this process should take no more than 20 minutes.

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry with Brown Rice
Colorado Springs District 11 Lunch Menu
Chef Brian Axworthy

Makes 4 Portions

Ingredients:

½ c Soy Sauce
½ c Chicken Stock
2 T Ketchup
¾ c Brown Sugar
½ t Granulated Garlic
½ t Ground Ginger
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Pinch Sesame Seeds
1 T Cornstarch
2 T Cold Water
½ lb Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs
4 oz Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
2 oz Broccoli, chopped into small florets
2 oz Carrots, ¼” diagonal slice
2 oz Celery, ¼” diagonal slice
2 oz Red Bell pepper, 1″ julienne
2 oz Green Beans or Snap Peas
1 ½ c Brown Rice
3 c Water

Procedure:

1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and add the turmeric to the boiling water. Break your spaghetti noodles in half and add them to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, to an al dente state and strain. Immediately cool with cold, draining water to stop the cooking process. Place the cold noodles in a large bowl and reserve.

2. Place the soy sauce, water, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds in a stockpot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the mixture by 1/3 and remove from the heat. Once the mixture is cooled slightly, add the sesame and canola oil.

3. Cut the vegetables and cilantro as instructed and toss them with the cold noodles along with the mandarin oranges. Add the sesame-soy dressing and mix well.

4. Taste and adjust the seasonings according to your palate. This dish can be served as a side salad or can be used as an entrée, maybe with a five-spiced grilled breast, slow-roasted kalua pork, or even marinated tofu.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Warm Bacon Asparagus
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., 5280 Culinary, LLC
Serves 4-6

2 bunches asparagus, rinsed and chilled
8 strips Applewood Smoked Bacon, julienned
1 ea. Small Red Onion, peeled, julienned
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
6 tbsp. Sugar
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
To Taste Kosher Salt
To Taste Black Ground Pepper
As Needed: Slurry (equal parts of cornstarch and water, mixed together)

Trim asparagus of the woody bottom part, and then cut remaining stalk in half leaving the tip portion and center portion. Julienne the bacon and hold chilled. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat; add the olive oil and heat. Sauté the asparagus until half cooked, remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Keep the pan on the heat; add the bacon and sauté until half cooked. Add the onion and cook until the bacon starts to caramelize. Turn the heat down to low and add the sugar, cook until melted. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Adjust the flavor with salt, pepper and more sugar if needed. Add the slurry mixture and thicken to syrup consistency. Add the par-cooked Asparagus and heat until hot. Toss to combine and serve warm as a salad.

 

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