For quite a while we couldn't quite put our finger on what was missing from sweet-and-sour chicken.
With all the tangy sweet goodness from the pineapple, peppers, onions, sugar and vinegar, it was hard to identify what it needed. Then we started thinking about Hawaiian-style pizza and suddenly it hit us bacon! Like so many things, sweet-and-sour chicken could be made better with bacon.
And while we were making improvements to this classic dish, we decided we might as well use fresh rather than canned pineapple, as well as the more flavorful chicken thigh rather than the more common breast. You can still serve the dish over white rice, but consider changing that up too by serving it as a grinder or tossed with soba noodles.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
cup brown sugar
cup cider vinegar
teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 red onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, julienned
2 baby bok choy, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into strips
6-ounce package fresh snow pea pods
16-ounce container fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high, cook the bacon until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, leaving the drippings in the pan.
Add the chicken to the pan and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well browned on all sides. It does not need to be cooked through yet. Add the onion and the carrot and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent and beginning to brown.
Add the bok choy, red bell pepper, snow peas and pineapple chunks. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in the reserved sauce.
In a small bowl, stir together the chicken broth and cornstarch, then stir into the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce is thickened and coats everything, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the reserved bacon.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 338 calories; 101 calories from fat (30 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 89 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 4 g fiber; 631 mg sodium.