Tag Archives: main dish

Vietnamese Braised Lemongrass Chicken

With a penchant toward bold flavors, this recipe from Milk Street appealed to us from the get-go. Typically, bone-in chicken thighs are also sold with the skin on. Simply remove it before cooking, and if you make homemade chicken stock, save it with your other body parts for the next time you throw some together.

In Vietnam, turmeric, garlic, chilies and fish sauce—staple ingredients in the Vietnamese kitchen—douse chicken with a riot of flavor and provide that gorgeous caramel coloring. The other main ingredient, lemongrass, is a grass of robust habit native to southern India and Ceylon that is grown in tropical regions for its lemon-scented foliage used as a seasoning and that is the source of an aromatic essential oil.

Luckily, instead of mincing fresh lemongrass, which requires a good amount of time and effort, simply bruise the stalks so they split open and release their essential oils into the braising liquid; then remove and discard the stalks when cooking is complete.

The soy sauce was an addition to the Milk Street recipe, a stand-in for the MSG and pork bouillon. The braising liquid is thickened with a little cornstarch to give the sauce just a little body. Serve the chicken with steamed jasmine rice.

Simply stated, 2 1⁄2 pounds of bone-in chicken is not enough for four adults. Plan on eight large thighs, no matter the weight. I went ahead and incorporated this change in the list of ingredients below.

Heads Up: Don’t leave the skin on the chicken. The bone adds flavor to the braise, but not the skin, which turns soggy with simmering and releases fat into the liquid. But bone-in thighs are almost always sold with skin, so simply pull it off before cooking.

Vietnamese Braised Lemongrass Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed to the bottom 6 inches, dry outer layers discarded, bruised
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. water, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed and discarded, patted dry
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cilantro and/or sliced scallions, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, chilies and turmeric, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lemongrass, broth, soy sauce, sugar and 1 cup water, then bring to a simmer. Add the chicken skinned side down in even layer and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skinned side up to a serving bowl. Cook the braising liquid over medium until reduced by about half, about 12 minutes. Remove and discard the lemon grass.In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk the mixture into the braising liquid, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Off heat, stir the lime juice and fish sauce into the braising liquid, then taste and season with pepper. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot, cover and let stand until heated through, about 5 minutes. Return the braise to the serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro.

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Recipe adapted by Diane Unger for Milk Street

OMG, The BEST Moroccan Chicken Skewers

WOWSER, these were so friggin’ good! While the original Milk Street recipe broiled the skewers, we decided to grill them for a more enhanced char. The skewers are then finished with the juice of charred lemon halves that have been drizzled with honey, along with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint are good choices, alone or, as we did, in combination.

As a perfect accompaniment we also grilled vegetables tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper. Some skewers were laced with red and green bell pepper along with onion wedges; while others consisted of cherry tomatoes and mushroom caps. We purposely arranged them separately because the onion and pepper pieces took longer to cook. And if you’re not restricting carbs or gluten, tricolored couscous can round out the meal nicely.

Some reviewers commented that they used pomegranate molasses as a finishing drizzle with the herbs because it’s not as sweet as honey but still adds another interesting texture and taste. I think that’s worth a try!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1½ lbs. halved boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Chopped fresh herbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill for direct high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, ginger, spices, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 2 tablespoons.
  3. Toss the chicken with the remaining mixture. Scrunch the chicken onto metal skewers, then place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Add the 4 lemon halves.
  4. Oil the grates and grill chicken and lemon halves until charred, about 12 minutes, flipping the chicken skewers halfway through.
  5. Spoon the reserved lemon-oil mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs.
  6. Drizzle the lemon halves with honey and serve alongside for squeezing over the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Baked Eggplant Parm with Chunky Tomato Sauce

It’s not unusual that most of us would like to cut calories and fat where we can, but not loose flavor. With this riff on a Martha Stewart recipe, you bake rather than fry, for less mess and less fat. In addition, there is no salting of the eggplant to extract moisture—a process I’ve never grown fond of.

Another plus, make the chunky tomato sauce a day or two ahead and save time on dinner night. It only takes about 20 minutes total, then refrigerate in an air tight container, and you’re one step ahead of the game.

As we prepped the dish, we realized that a few tweaks to the recipe were needed. After coating the slices for one of the eggplants, we noted there would not be enough for all the remaining slices, so we quickly increased by about another 50%; while the amount of egg wash was spot on.

The shredded mozzarella was increased to 2 cups from 1 1/2, although we would even increase it more next time! The dried basil was swapped out for fresh, making sure to add it between layers as well as a garnish. One of those grocery store clamshells of basil is the perfect amount. These changes are noted in the ingredients below.

It was so light and tasty, The Hubs claimed it might be the best Eggplant Parm he’s ever had! Can’t wait to attack those leftovers… Serves 8 as a side dish, 6 as a main.

Baked Eggplant Parm with Chunky Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Chunky Tomato Sauce (Yields 6 cups)

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (28 oz. each) whole tomatoes 
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Eggplant Parm

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 Tbsp. for topping
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 oz. fresh basil, chopped to equal a loose 1/2 cup, save some whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 large eggplants (2 1/2 lbs. total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2+ cups shredded mozzarella

Directions

  1. Tomato Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Crush tomatoes into pan; add oregano. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Make up to 3 days ahead.
  2. Eggplant Parm: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 1 cup grated Parmesan, and oregano; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
  4. Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 of the chopped basil. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, mozzarella and basil; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

Harissa-Spiced Lamb with Dates and Couscous

Harissa is a North African spice paste whichis used as the flavor base for this simple skillet-cooked meat sauce, as well as to season the couscous that’s served alongside. Scallions play a dual role in this dish—the whites are caramelized to lend depth of flavor to the sauce and the greens are sprinkled on as a garnish.

Dates (or golden raisins) lend sweetness that play off the spicy, savory notes. Neither of us are huge fans of raisins/dates in our savory dishes, so we only incorporated one ounce of golden raisins and to us, it was the perfect amount of sweetness.

While the directions were followed as written, the next time we prepare this dish, we’ll brown the meat in the skillet first, remove it to a dish, wipe out the grease, and then cook the scallions as directed, adding back the cooked lamb afterwards. The original way leaves all of the fat in the pan.

The chopped pistachios, lemon wedge and cilantro all added welcome pops of flavor as garnishes.

Harissa-Spiced Lamb with Dates and Couscous

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups couscous
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. harissa, divided, plus more to serve
  • 1¼ cups boiling water
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 lb. 80 percent lean ground lamb (OR ground beef)
  • ¾ cup pitted dates/golden raisins, roughly chopped
  • Optional garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro, chopped pistachios, chopped pitted green olives and/or lemon wedges

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the couscous, ¾ teaspoon salt and 1½ tablespoons each oil and harissa. Stir in the boiling water; cover and let stand while you prepare the beef.
  2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, the scallion whites and cumin, stirring, until the scallions brown.
  3. Add the lamb (or beef), the remaining 1½ tablespoons harissa, the dates, ¾ cup water and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally while breaking up the meat, until the mixture is saucy.
  4. Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve over the couscous.

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Recipe from Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Rotini with Pistachio, Ricotta and Herb Pesto

Pistachios are a borderline addiction for me (although I’m usually not picky when it comes to nuts of any sort). In fact, whenever we stop at Costco’s, it’s pretty likely we’ll pick up a 1.5-pound bag of the shelled, roasted/salted variety.

Did you know Sicily is famous for its pistachios, as well as for ricotta cheese? In this recipe, Milk Street blends the two, along with fresh basil and chives, to create a simple pesto to toss with al dente pasta.

There’s no need to grate the Parmesan—simply cut it into chunks and toss the pieces into the blender. The pesto is good on a wide variety of pasta shapes, but the hollow centers and surface ridges of rigatoni do a particularly good job of gripping the rich, creamy sauce. We used rotini whose spirals also made an easy job of grasping that sauce.

Milk Street advises NOT to use toasted or roasted pistachios because they claim, in this case, raw pistachios are best. Their bright color and natural sweetness lend a vibrant, full-flavored pesto. Well, as I mentioned, we had the roasted salted pistachios and went ahead and used them.

Now don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water before draining the pasta. You’ll need some of the starchy seasoned liquid to thin out the pesto.

Rigatoni with Pistachio, Ricotta and Herb Pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni or rotini
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1⅓ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup raw pistachios, plus 2 Tbsp. finely chopped pistachios
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese (without rind), cut into 4 or 5 pieces
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh chives

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. In a blender, combine the ricotta, the whole pistachios, oil, Parmesan, basil, chives, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and blend until creamy, about 1 minute; the pesto should have a consistency similar to yogurt.
  3. Pour the pesto over the pasta and stir, adding more reserved pasta water as needed so the sauce coats the noodles. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with the chopped pistachios.

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Adapted from a recipe from Rebecca Richmond for Milk Street

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

Looking for a vibrant fish dinner combination? This Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa from Better Homes & Gardens caught our attention immediately. And if you lean toward low-carb, keto-friendly dishes, you may want to put this meal in your rotation.

Choose a firm whitefish option like cod, grouper, or hake. These varieties hold up well to oven-roasting—and topping with a tangy, refreshing fruit salsa. Our original intention was to purchase hake, but the local supermarket didn’t have it and we were to lazy to drive to the other side of town to the Asian fish market and get it, so cod it was.

The recipe calls for four fish fillets, but with only the two of us at the dinner table, we simply bought a one-pounder fillet and split it. As far as the fennel, once roasted, it not only dissipates the licorice flavor (which deters some people from eating it), but it takes on a subtle, sweet flavor, which makes a great counterpoint to the grapefruit salsa.

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and cut into thin wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fronds
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1-inch thick firm white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper, or hake
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add fennel wedges. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until starting to brown.
  2. Turn fennel and push to sides. Add fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chopped fennel fronds, grapefruit, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Serve fish with roasted fennel and the salsa.

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Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Chipotle Chicken Breasts

A richly caramelized crust, juicy and flavorful interior, and a sauce so irresistible you’ll be tempted to eat it right out of the skillet. Take note, while the cooking portion is a mere 15 minutes or so, the seasoned poultry needs to be refrigerated uncovered for two hours, then sit at room temperature for another 30 minutes.

Why season and chill this chicken before cooking? That chilling time allows salt to penetrate the chicken and as the muscle fibers break down, it helps the meat reabsorb the juices. And no one enjoys a dried out piece of chicken!

Instead of just serving with plain steamed rice, we upped our game and made rice pilaf which also included a chipotle chile pepper. The other companion side served was glazed carrots.

Chipotle Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add chicken (don’t crowd the pan). Cook for 5 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the chicken will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more—or until chicken is done at 165°F. Adjust heat as necessary.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet to a plate; cover loosely. Remove skillet from heat. Carefully add broth, lime juice, and garlic to skillet (mixture will spatter). Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until reduced by about half. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk in butter, chipotle, and any juices from the chicken.
  6. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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Recipe by Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Beef and Potato Curry with Lemongrass and Coconut

Southeast Asian curries combine Indian influences with regional ingredients such as lemon grass and star anise. For this one, Milk Street took inspiration from a recipe in “Best of Malaysian Cooking” by Betty Saw. Instead of calling for a long list of spices, this uses Indian curry powder as an easy flavor base; and sambal oelek, an Indonesian-style chili paste which adds bright heat to the meal.

The dish was delish, BUT, it took way longer than indicated. First, since we couldn’t locate boneless short ribs, we bought a chuck roast that was sliced in half lengthwise and popped into the freezer for 30 minutes. This allowed us to easily cut the beef into thin, 1⁄8-inch slices. And there was quite a bit of prep—at least 20 minutes worth—so there was no way this meal was going to be done in a half hour!

Then, the potato halves, which were supposed to be tender after 30 minutes, were still too firm after 45. I fished them out of the curry, and microwaved for several minutes before reuniting them with the other ingredients. For a pop of color, chopped cilantro was added as a final garnish.

It is suggested you serve over hot jasmine rice, yet we are not typically fans of both potatoes and rice in the same dish. Although it would be lovely over rice to help sop up the wonderful sauce, we would substitute sweet bell red and/or green peppers in place of the potatoes, cooking them first before the onions to reduce incorporating any more liquid into the curry.

Tips: Don’t forget to trim off any silver skin from the short ribs before slicing. The silver skin is stringy and fibrous unless the meat is cooking for a long time, and if left in place, it will cause the slices of beef to curl during simmering. Look for sambal in well-stocked supermarkets and Asian grocery stores; if it’s not available, chili-garlic paste is a good substitute.

Beef and Potato Curry with Lemongrass and Coconut

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. boneless beef short ribs (or chuck roast), trimmed and cut to ⅛-inch thick slices against the grain
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved thinly sliced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1½ Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass, trimmed to the bottom 6 inches, dry outer layers discarded, bruised
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 lb. small Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1½ inches in diameter), unpeeled, halved
  • 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. sambal oelek or chili-garlic paste, plus more as needed
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper; set aside. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, curry powder, star anise and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften and the mixture is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, potatoes, coconut milk and sambal, then bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot. Reduce to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the largest potatoes meets no resistance, about 30 minutes (or longer).
  3. Off heat, taste and season with salt, pepper and additional sambal. Remove and discard the star anise and lemon grass. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if using.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Rebecca Richmond for Milk Street

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic

From a recent issue of Milk Street, we found out that Carne Vinha D’alhos, or pork with wine and garlic, is a traditional Christmas dish from the Portuguese island of Madeira and the precursor to the spicy Indian curry called vindaloo.

To make it, chunks of pork are marinated in a heady mixture of wine, vinegar, garlic and herbs for up to a few days before they’re cooked until tender. This version of Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic was streamlined using pork shoulder instead of leaner pork loin, and the meat can marinate anywhere from 1 to 48 hours. (Ours marinated for 24 hours.)

Pork shoulder is a cut that requires lengthy cooking to become tender, so this oven-braised for about 1½ hours. Next, you brown the meat after simmering to a develop rich, flavorful caramelization. The marinade is then reduced to a light glaze, and the pork is finished by coating it with the reduction.

In Madeira, the pork typically is piled onto crusty rolls to make sandwiches, but we paired ours with another recipe from Milk Street: Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Chiles where a mixture of wine and chicken broth are used for simmering the spuds to render them soft and tender.

After simmering the pork, be sure to drain the pieces on a rack as directed. This helps ensure nice caramelization when the pork is browned in the skillet. Finally, when skimming the fat off the braising liquid, be sure to reserve it for browning the pork.

Tip: Don’t use an uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven. Enamel-coated cast-iron is fine, but in an uncoated cast-iron pot—even in one that is well seasoned—the acidity of the marinade may react with the iron, producing metallic “off” flavors. A stainless steel cooking surface is fine, too, but avoid aluminum unless it has been treated to make it nonreactive.

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 whole cloves (optional)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Madeira wine
  • ¼ cup minced fresh oregano

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, stir together the pork, wine, vinegar, bay, garlic, dried oregano, pepper flakes, cloves (if using) and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 48 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook the pork, heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Re-cover, transfer to the oven and cook until a skewer inserted into the pork meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours, stirring once about halfway through.
  3. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and garlic to the rack, removing and discarding the bay and cloves (if used); set aside. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off as much fat as possible; reserve the fat. Or use a fat separator.
  4. Add the Madeira to the pot, bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. (We ended up with a LOT of liquid, so it took twice as long to reduce.) Remove and discard any large bits of fat on the exterior of the pieces of pork.
  5. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pork fat until barely smoking. Add the pork and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reduced cooking liquid. Return to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the pork is lightly glazed and begins to sizzle, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then stir in the fresh oregano. Transfer to a serving dish.

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Recipe by Diane Unger for Milk Street

Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Saganaki is a traditional Greek dish with sweet, briny shrimp covered with a garlic- and herb-accented tomato sauce, and topped with crumbles of creamy, salty feta cheese. This version hails from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.”

This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. The base for the sauce is provided by canned diced tomatoes along with sautéed onions and garlic. Dry white wine adds acidity, and ouzo brings welcome complexity with its slightly sweet anise flavor.

*Since ouzo is not in everyone’s liquor cabinet (it wasn’t in ours—but is now), here are two alternatives: Pernod—Though slightly sweeter than ouzo, this French anise-flavored liqueur is the next best thing. Or use a combo of Vodka + Anise Seed, with one tablespoon of vodka plus 1/8 teaspoon of anise seed to equal 1 tablespoon of ouzo.

Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.

Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. ouzo (*see note above)
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill leaves

Directions

  1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer.
  6. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe for America’s Test Kitchen

Mustard-Shallot Bone-In Pork Chop for Two

One chop, two diners. That’s all you need when your two-inch thick pork chop weighs in at 1 1⁄4 pounds. For a thick, bone-in pork chop, pan-searing is a great cooking method. The high heat seals in the pork’s juices so you don’t have to suffer over dry, chewy meat. Then 10 minutes in a hot oven to render your chop perfectly cooked and succulent.

For a final touch, the mustard-shallot sauce is made in the same pan while the pork chop rests. We tend to like saucy, so if you prefer less of an embellishment, just cut the ingredients in half.

Mustard-Shallot Bone-In Pork Chop for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1, 1 to 1¼ lb. bone-in pork loin chop, 2-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. butter 
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions

  • Season pork generously with salt and pepper. Place on a plate. Chill, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove and let stand 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Heat a heavy, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. To check when hot enough, add a large drop of water (1/8 teaspoon) to the skillet. When it rolls around the pan like a bead of mercury it is ready. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Return to medium-high heat. Add pork chop. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until a crust forms (be patient; the pork will release when it’s ready to be turned). Turn and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Sear the end caps for a minute or two each.
  • Place pan directly into oven for 10 minutes or until pork reaches 145°F when tested with a instant-read thermometer.
  • Place meat on a plate; cover loosely and keep warm.
  • Carefully add wine and shallots to skillet. Return to heat. Bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until reduced by about half and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and mustard.
  • Spoon sauce over pork to serve. Sprinkle with parsley.

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Loosely adapted from a recipe by Colleen Weeden for Better Homes & Gardens

Pasta Alla Genovese

Pasta without tomato sauce or garlic?? According to Milk Street where we found this dish, they say don’t be fooled by the name. Ironically, it is not pasta with Genovese basil pesto, nor is it from Genoa. Rather, the sauce is an onion-based ragù and a classic in the Neapolitan culinary repertoire.

Some versions of pasta alla genovese are meat-free, others include a small amount of beef or veal as a flavoring, but never as a key ingredient. Taking a cue from A Cucina Ra Casa Mia in Naples, this recipe uses boneless beef short ribs. The beef is combined, cut into chunks, with carrots, celery and a mountain of onions in a Dutch oven. The pot goes into the oven, where the heat is slow and steady, until the meat is rendered tender enough to fall apart when prodded with a fork.

TIPS: Slicing 3 pounds of onions by hand is a good opportunity to hone your knife skills, but if you prefer, they can be sliced on a mandoline. The ragù can be made up to three days ahead, then reheated gently before tossing with just-cooked pasta.

Don’t be concerned that there’s so little liquid in the pot after adding the onions and beef. Warmed by the oven heat, the vegetables and meat will release moisture that becomes the braising liquid in the covered pot. But for the second half of cooking, please don’t forget to uncover the pot. This allows some of that liquid to evaporate for a richer, more concentrated flavor and consistency.

Pasta Alla Genovese

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 1½ lbs. boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2-inch piece Parmesan rind, plus 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. pasta such as rigatoni or penne rigati
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and celery, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the onions, beef, pepper flakes, Parmesan rind, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper, then stir to combine. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and stir. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook until stewy and the meat falls apart when pressed with a fork, about another 1½ hours. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Cover and set aside while you cook the pasta.
  6. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  7. Add the pasta to the Dutch oven and toss to combine with the sauce, adding about ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Add the parsley and half the grated Parmesan, then toss again; add more reserved water as needed so the sauce coats the pasta. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve with the remaining Parmesan.

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Recipe by  Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a meal that is not only good for you, but is art to the eyes and music to the taste buds—plus, comes together quickly with a short list of ingredients. Here, Milk Street riffs on Laura Calder’s recipe for a simple yet elegant one-skillet, six-ingredient (not counting the salt and pepper) sautéed fish supper from “French Food at Home.”

This version yields a slightly more substantial vegetable accompaniment to serve with the fillets but is equally easy to prepare. Green beans are used, but if you prefer, use pencil-thin asparagus instead. However, Milk Street notes it serves four, and while we halved the amount of snapper for the two of us, the full amount of green beans and tomatoes was kept intact, yet we consumed all of them between the two of us. If serving a starch such as rice or potatoes, it probably won’t be much of an issue.

Red snapper is a mild, firm-textured white fish that holds up nicely to sautéing. Flounder is a good alternative, as it typically is of the same thickness as snapper. Halibut works nicely, too, but the fillets are thicker (and more expensive!) and therefore require a few more minutes in the pan. One misstep on our end was forgetting to remove the fish skin which caused the fillets to curl in the pan.

Tip: Don’t fuss with the fish once it’s in the skillet. Allowing the fillets to cook undisturbed for a few minutes gives them a chance to develop a well-browned crust. To flip each one, slide a metal spatula underneath and, as you turn it, support the fillet your free hand. Gentle handling helps prevent the flaky flesh from breaking.

Sautéed Snapper with Green Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 6-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (½ to 1 inch thick)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring only once or twice, until spottily browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to char and burst and the beans are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skinned side up and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each fillet, then add the butter while swirling the pan. Cook over medium-high, occasionally basting the fish with the fat, until the fillets are opaque throughout, about another 3 minutes. Using the spatula, place the fillets on top of the vegetables.
  3. Set the skillet over medium, add the vinegar and cook, stirring to combine with the fat, just until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour the mixture over the fish.

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Adapted the recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

A South Asian Curry

Ginger-Cumin Beef Curry — Bhuna is a type of South Asian curry that’s especially intense and flavorful because the aromatics and a generous amount of spices are fried in oil and only a little liquid is added to simmer the meat. This version we found in a recent issue of Milk Street.

Over the course of cooking, the liquid is allowed to reduce, resulting in deep, bold, concentrated flavors and a thick, rich sauce. According to some sources, the term bhuna refers to the cooking technique employed to make the dish. The Instant Pot is well-suited to making bhuna-style beef curry: the pressure cooker function cooks the meat without any added liquid at all and the slow cooker function simmers it gently and steadily with only a small amount of added moisture.

If you prefer more vegetables, you could incorporate carrots and/or broccoli. We simply paired ours with a side salad. Serve the curry garnished with thinly sliced red onion and with basmati rice on the side.

Don’t forget to add ⅓ cup water if slow-cooking. The liquid, added just before the pot is sealed, helps the beef mixture come to temperature more quickly, for a slightly shorter overall cooking time. The water is not needed if using the pressure-cooker function.

Ginger-Cumin Beef Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. ghee or neutral oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2½-3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1½- to 2-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup water (unless using a stove-top pressure cooker)
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Heat the ghee until shimmering, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, cardamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, peppercorns and bay, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chilies and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef and distribute in an even layer.
  4. Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 40 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a medium bowl. Remove and discard the bay. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid (or use a fat separator).
  6. Select More/High Sauté, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Return the meat to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press Cancel.
  7. Stir in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

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Recipe from Milk Street

Jerusalem-Style “Mixed-Grill” Chicken

Milk Street, where this recipe hails from, explains that Jerusalem mixed grill is a popular Israeli street food, one that is said to originate in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. The term “mixed” refers to the sundry ingredients that go into the dish—chicken meat, hearts, spleen and liver, along with bits of lamb, plus onions and spices. Now don’t get all squeamish over the innards because…

…To re-create a simplified mixed grill at home, Milk Street (MS) borrowed from chef Daniel Alt’s version at The Barbary and Omri Mcnabb’s take on it at The Palomar, two London restaurants that serve up modern Levantine and Middle Eastern cuisine. MS then limited the meat to boneless, skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them assertively with select spices. You can now let out a collective sigh.

In place of a grill, a nonstick skillet on the stovetop is used. Amba, a pickled mango condiment, is commonly served with mixed grill to offset the richness of the meat. Here however, quick-pickle sliced red onion offers a similar acidity and brightness. Nutty, creamy tahini sauce is non-negotiable, and a necessary requirement for the full experience. Serve the chicken with warmed pita.

Be mindful NOT to stir the chicken-onion mixture too often while cooking; doing so disrupts browning. Intermittent stirring—no more than every 2 to 3 minutes—allows the chicken to develop nice, deep, flavor-building char.

Jerusalem-Style Mixed-Grill Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. white sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • Multi-grain pita pickets, warmed in oven wrapped in tinfoil, (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in 1 cup of sliced onion; set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the tahini and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, then whisk in 6 tablespoons water. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of oil, the coriander, allspice, turmeric, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the chicken and the remaining sliced onion, then stir until evenly coated.
  3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken mixture in an even layer and cook, uncovered and stirring only every 2 to 3 minutes, until the chicken is well browned all over and no longer is pink when cut into, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle lightly with some of the tahini sauce and top with the pickled onion. Serve the remaining tahini sauce on the side.
Yes, these are something to write home about!

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Recipe adapted from 177 Milk Street