Tag Archives: main dish

I Betcha You’ll Enjoy Thecha

“Spicy, garlicky thecha is a green-(or red)-chile-based condiment that hails from Maharashtra in western India. You can use it to complement seared skirt steak, as well as chicken, eggplant, cauliflower, or any other ingredient that longs for massive flavor.” — Bon Appétit

Since we had some flap meat in the freezer, and actually prefer it over skirt steak, it became the foundation for our meal. Because flap steak is thicker than skirt, we sliced the thicker portions and adjusted the times slightly. However, the Skirt Steak with Scallion Thecha recipe below mimics the original from Bon Appétit.

NOTE: To save a step, grind the peanuts in the mini-food processor before using it to make the thecha.

Our choice of sides was roasted butternut squash and red onions, plus a side salad; but you could also serve the steak with rice, roasted potatoes, and/or a salad for a full meal. Our Thai chiles were red, so the thecha is more red than one made with green serrano chiles, as is typical.

Skirt Steak with Scallion Thecha

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch cilantro, tough stems removed, leaves and tender stems coarsely chopped
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 green Thai or serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsest chopped
  • 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil, plus more for steak
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup salted or unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1½ lb. ½”-thick skirt steak, cut into 5”-long pieces
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. Pulse cilantro, scallions, chiles, garlic, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a food processor (a mini processor works well here) until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat ⅓ cup oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Cook cumin until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Transfer to bowl with paste; add peanuts and mix well. Set scallion thecha aside for serving.
  3. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season on both sides with kosher salt. Rub a little oil over steaks to coat lightly.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add half of the steak, arranging in a single layer, and cook, undisturbed, until a golden brown crust forms, 2–3 minutes. Turn steak over and cook until second side forms a golden brown crust, 2–3 minutes. (We had a large enough grill pan to cook all of the steak at once.)
  5. Transfer steak to a cutting board and repeat process with remaining steak, if necessary. Let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Slice steak against the grain and arrange on a platter. Top with reserved scallion thecha and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Recipe by Rachel Gurjar for Bon Appétit

Portugal’s Simple Seafood Stew (Cataplana)

Simply delicious! It just so happened, that we started making our vacation plans to visit Portugal the same day we made this dish. The power of suggestion…

Cataplana is both the name of the dish and the pot that it is cooked in. There are two types of cataplana: either seafood packed with both fish and seafood, or a pork and clam version, which this one is. It uses abundant fresh seafood, smoky cured meat, and vibrant paprika in a rich, ruddy broth. In lieu of a traditional copper cataplana pot, we cooked ours in a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid to mimic the steamy cooking environment.

The strips of fresh fennel and red bell pepper, enliven the dish with a crisp‑tenderness that contrasts with the juicy chew of the sausage and the meaty clams. Since I don’t eat clams and The Hubs does, we substituted a bit more shrimp and fewer clams, but kept the ratios the same.

To accompany the stew and help mop up all of those luscious juices, we made some tasty toasted garlic baguette slices topped with grated parmesan and a hint of smoked paprika—the perfect companion! We made it again a few weeks later for a small party we hosted…

Portugal's Simple Seafood Stew (Cataplana)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise
  • ¾ tsp. table salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. linguica sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and sliced thin lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse
  • 1 8-oz. bottle clam juice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 lbs. littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

  1. Combine shrimp and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl; refrigerate until needed. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add linguica and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and fat is slightly rendered, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic, paprika, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add onion, fennel, bell pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, clam juice, and wine. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. Stir in clams; cover and cook until clams have opened, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
  6. Off heat, stir in shrimp. Cover and let stand off heat until shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Discard any unopened clams. Stir in parsley; season with salt to taste; transfer to serving bowl if desired; and serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

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Recipe by Steve Dunn for Cook’s Illustrated

Chili-Soy Noodles with Bok Choy and Peanuts

These noodles are an addictive combination of salty, spicy and sweet. For best results, use thick Asian wheat noodles, such as udon or lo mein, that cook up with chewy resilience. We try to include vegetarian dishes into our repertoire of meals, and this recipe is anything but ho-hum. Plus the ease of prep and limited ingredients let you serve dinner in under a half hour.

Chili crisp, a Chinese condiment sold in jars, is chili oil amped up with with red pepper flakes and additional spices. If you can find it, it’s a more flavorful alternative to standard chili oil. We used a chili-garlic paste, including the full two tablespoons. In fact, The Hubs added even more to his portion before tasting it–which probably wasn’t that wise 😉

If you want to amp up the veggies, one reviewer suggested including mushrooms, which we both agreed would be a good addition. Our Udon noodles weighed in at only eight ounces as opposed to the ten ounces the recipe called for. Luckily we didn’t have another mouth to feed because we polished off the entire skillet’s worth!

Chili-Soy Noodles with Bok Choy and Peanuts

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 10 oz. dried Asian wheat noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 1 lb. baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. chili oil OR chili crisp, plus more to serve
  • ¾ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender. Drain, rinse and drain again.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the bok choy and cook, stirring, until the stems are tender; transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same skillet, mix the soy, sugar, chili oil and half the peanuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
  4. Add the bok choy and noodles, then toss until warmed. Serve sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and drizzled with additional chili oil.

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Adapted from a recipe by Milk Street

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragù 

This dish borrows some of the flavors of Greek moussaka for a quick-one pan meal. Seared flank steak is finished with a wonderful rustic sauce-like side of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Crumbled feta cheese adds briny notes that contrast nicely with the sweetness of the vegetables and the richness of the beef.

We paired ours with rice pilaf doctored with herbs and olive oil.

Prep is pretty easy because there is no need to peel the eggplant, canned tomatoes are used, and the feta cheese is already crumbled; not to mention it all happens in one skillet.

To keep the eggplant from drying out so that the pieces become silky-soft, don’t drain the juices from the tomatoes—the liquid helps form the sauce. When slicing the flank steak for serving, make sure to slice it against the grain for the tenderest texture.

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragù

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. flank steak, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes, (don’t drain, save the juices)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped
  • 1½ oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)

Directions

  • Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the steak and brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total, flipping the pieces once. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan over medium-high, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the eggplant and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the tomatoes with juices, the garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the eggplant has begun to break down, about 5 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in any accumulated beef juices and half the mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and place on a platter. Spoon the eggplant mixture on and around the steak, then sprinkle with feta and the remaining mint.

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Recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Apple, Sherry and Smoked Paprika

The inspiration for this Spanish spin on pork and apples comes from “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” by José Andrés. This version from Milk Street uses pork tenderloins that get a stovetop sear and finish in the oven on a bed of lightly sautéed onion and Granny Smith apple. The onion-apple mixture softens to a jammy relish-like accompaniment that is accented with smoked paprika and dry sherry. It’s a rich, woodsy complement to slices of the mild, meaty tenderloin.

We cooked only one tenderloin for the two of us which provided three servings of meat. The amount of ingredients for the sauce was kept the same because we prefer things saucy. Our accompaniments were roasted butternut squash cubes and a simple side salad. The flavors of the meal were outstanding!

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Apple, Sherry and Smoked Paprika

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 1¼-lb. pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1½ teaspoons salt. Rub the mixture onto all sides of the pork.
  2. In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Place the pork in the skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, the onion and apple to the skillet. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Distribute the mixture in an even layer, then scatter on the thyme. Place the pork on top, add any accumulated juices and transfer to the oven. Roast until the center of the thickest piece of tenderloin reaches 135°F or is just slightly pink when cut into, 9 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven; the handle will be hot. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil. Add the sherry, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika to the pan, then cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the thyme. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion-apple mixture to a serving platter, leaving the liquid in the pan. Thinly slice the pork and arrange over the onion-apple mixture. Drizzle the pan liquid over the meat and sprinkle with the chives.

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Tsitsila Tabaka

Motivation for this Crispy Chicken Under A Brick recipe was inspired from the European nation of Georgia, which borders Western Asia. The technique of employing Tsitsila Tabaka is a regional tradition that often calls for foiled-wrapped bricks and starting the bird on the stovetop. However it’s done, the rendered fat in the pan typically serves as a base for a simple garlic sauce that brims with flavor.

The chicken is spatchcocked, which puts thighs and breasts on the same plane for even cooking. Georgian cooks use a brick to keep their chickens truly flat. The weight presses the chicken down, ensuring the bird makes full contact with the pan’s hot surface, which renders the fat and ensures even browning. If crisp skin is what you’re after, this is the way to get it.

For the “brick,” we used a second heavy skillet ; it’s easier and works just as well. However, if you have them on hand, you instead could use one or two clean bricks wrapped in heavy-duty foil. Don’t use a chicken much larger than 4 pounds, as it may not fit comfortably in the skillet. Don’t forget to pat the chicken dry before searing. The drier the skin, the better it crisps. After searing, make sure to drain the fat in the pan before putting the bird in the oven; this reduces splatter.

Instead of simply seasoning the meat, you build flavor by marinating it in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and herbs, such as rosemary, then searing the chicken, skin side down, with bricks (or heavy skillet) on top. Then flip it and finish it in the oven. An easy pan sauce with garlic, lemon and cilantro perfectly complements the chicken.

After roasting, use the same skillet to create the easy pan sauce. Cook garlic in butter, then deglazed the pan with chicken broth, scraping up the flavorful brown bits. Off heat, stir in cayenne pepper, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Spooned over the crispy chicken, the cilantro and garlic in the sauce reinforced the coriander and garlic in the spice rub.

We paired our chicken with the most silky Braised Asparagus and crispy/creamy Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes. We were practically licking the plate when done. I’ll post those blogs in the near future.

Crispy Chicken Under a Brick

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 4-lb. whole chicken
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, granulated garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place the chicken breast down on a cutting board. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, end to end. Remove and discard the backbone (or save it to make broth). Spread open the chicken, then turn it breast up. Use the heel of your hand to press down firmly on the thickest part of the breast, until the wishbone snaps. Season all over with the spice mixture, rubbing it into the skin. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the lowest position. Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until just smoking. Place the chicken breast down in the pan. Lay a small sheet of foil over the chicken, then place a second heavy skillet or pot on top. Reduce to medium and cook until the skin is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, removing the weight and foil and checking every 4 to 5 minutes to ensure even browning.
  3. Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken to a large plate, turning it breast up. Pour off and discard the fat in the skillet. Slide the chicken breast up back into the pan and place in the oven. Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160°F, 25 to 35 minutes. Carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest while you make the sauce.
  4. Set the skillet (the handle will be hot) over medium-high and cook the butter and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, then cook until the garlic is softened and the mixture is lightly thickened and reduced to about ¾ cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, mash the garlic until almost smooth and mix it into the sauce.
  5. Off heat, stir in the cayenne, lemon juice and cilantro, then transfer to a serving bowl. Carve, then serve with the sauce.

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Recipe from Courtney Hill for Milk Street Magazine

Roasted Lamb Loin Chops with Charmoula

Charmoula may be best described as Middle Eastern pesto. Chef-author Molly Stevens version is packed with fresh herbs like parsley, mint and cilantro and enhanced with smoky paprika, toasted cumin, and plenty of garlic. Some of it is used to marinate the lamb, and the remainder is served at the table as a finishing sauce.

While the lamb chops cook in a high heated oven for only 11 minutes, they need to marinate in the charmoula for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours) and sit at room temperature for an hour before roasting.

This recipe paired the lamb with asparagus and shallot, however we had kale and red onions on hand and therefore opted to make a roasted side dish out of them instead.

Roasted Lamb Loin Chops with Charmoula

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

CHARMOULA

  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3 sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce); or sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

LAMB

  • 8 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch-thick lamb loin chops (about 2 2/3 lbs.)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

FOR CHARMOULA

  1. Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until aromatic and slightly darker, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer to processor.
  2. Add parsley leaves and next 6 ingredients to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms. With machine running, gradually add 4 tablespoons oil.
  3. Transfer 2 tablespoons charmoula to small bowl; whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
  4. Cover and chill to serve with lamb.

FOR LAMB

  1. Transfer remaining charmoula to large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb chops; seal bag and turn to coat well. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. Let lamb and charmoula sauce in bowl stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 500°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place rack on prepared baking sheet. Place lamb on rack and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 130°F for medium-rare, about 13 minutes. Transfer lamb to platter. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Place 2 lamb chops on each of 4 plates. Drizzle lamb with charmoula sauce, passing remaining sauce alongside.

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Original recipe from All About Roasting by Molly Stevens

Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry with Coconut Rice

Thai stir-fries are one of our favorite go-to’s; and this recipe rachetes it up a notch with the addition of Thai cashews (find them at Trader Joe’s). And if you like bold flavors, then this will end up on your short list.

Originally from Milk Street, we scaled back on the chicken by 25%, but increased the bell pepper quotient by 100%, adding a yellow one along with the red pepper, making it more veggie-forward. Another change was doubling the sauce (except for the garlic). These alterations are noted in the recipe below.

And while you could pair it simply with steamed jasmine rice, you might want to try the Coconut Rice recipe below for even more depth of flavor.

I have to give a shout-out to these fabulous Trader Joe’s Thai cashews. Not only are they a fabulous snack right out of the bag, but they’re perfect for this dish. If you can get your hands on them, by all means do so.

NOTE: Don’t discard the marinade after draining the chicken. It’s mixed with ¼ cup water and becomes a sauce that lightly coats the chicken and vegetables.

Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry with Coconut Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. white sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Ground white pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths; save some of the dark green cut into smaller pieces for garnish
  • 1/2 cup roasted Thai cashews, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Start coconut rice, directions below.
  2. For the Stir-fry: In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, pepper flakes and 3/4 teaspoon white pepper. Stir in the chicken, then marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the chicken in a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, pressing the chicken to remove excess marinade. Stir 1/2 cup water into the marinade and set aside.
  4. In a 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in an even layer, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
  5. Heat a bit more oil in the wok, stir in the bell peppers and scallions. Stir-fry for several minutes until just starting to brown. Add chicken back to the veggies.
  6. Stir the marinade mixture to recombine, add to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Toss in the cashew pieces, cook, stirring often, until the liquid thickens and clings to the chicken, about 2 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with white pepper. Spoon over cooked coconut rice and garnish with scallion greens.

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Loosely adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water or water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 2-inch strips of lime zest

Directions

  1. Place jasmine rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clean. Drain well, it works best to tap base of sieve with your hand or against the sink.
  2. Heat coconut milk and coconut water in a medium non-stick saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, season with salt, sugar, lime zest strips add rice and bring to a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed (you may find there’s a few small pools of liquid at the top and that’s fine), about 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover over low heat for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve warm.

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Adapted from a recipe by CookingClassy.com

Beef and Lamb Bolognese

This version of bolognese is half lamb and half ground beef, a mixture you’ll see a lot in northern Italy, and because the lamb is lean, this is a somewhat lighter sauce than all-beef or pork-based ragu.

The sauce needs a good long simmer, but it makes enough that you’ll likely get two meals. Giada claims the pasta shouldn’t be swimming in sauce; you only want it to stain the pasta, but we are “saucy” people and like to pile on a fair amount.

One of the ingredients is Calabrian chili paste, but a good substitute is Sriracha, and that’s what we used.

Beef and Lamb Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chili paste; or Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine such as chianti
  • 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes, (28 ounce) crushed by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece parmesan rind, (3 inch)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. fusilli, cooked to package instructions; or polenta

Directions

  1. Heat a medium dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm until the butter is melted.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring often for 6 minutes or until the vegetable are soft but have no color.
  3. Add the lamb and beef and cook breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
  4. Stir the garlic, chili paste, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Cook the tomato paste stirring often for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the milk is almost entirely evaporated.
  6. Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, parmesan rind and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low to just maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Use several folded paper towels to skim some of the oil from the surface.
  7. Discard the bay leaf and parm rind.
  8. Spoon the bolognese over fusilli or creamy polenta reserving any extra to serve on the side. Serve with additional parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Shawarma Roast Chicken with Shallots and Lemons

Yogurt is a common marinade throughout the Levant region, a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. Not only does it act as a tenderizer, but it also creates a crust on the meat and carries the flavor of the spices (here those are the shawarma heavy-hitters like cumin, coriander, and turmeric).

The chicken can marinate for as little as 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours in the fridge if you’re not in a rush, making it quite doable without tons of planning. Roasting the bird alongside halved shallots and sliced lemons means you get jammy and crispy accompanying bites built right in, cooked in the rich chicken juices.

The original recipe called for 3 shallots, but we more than doubled them to 7 (noted below), all their jammy goodness paired wonderfully with the seasoned chicken, as did the lemon. As sides, we prepared a Warm Farro with Lemon and Herbs dish, and some charred broccoli.

Shawarma Roast Chicken with Shallots and Lemons

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ¼ cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3½–4-lb. whole chicken, patted dry
  • Kosher salt
  • 6-7 medium shallots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 lemon, sliced into ¼”-thick rounds, seeds removed
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 4 oregano or thyme sprigs, plus leaves for serving
  • Flaky sea salt (for serving)

Directions

  1. Finely grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, paprika, and turmeric in a spice mill. Transfer spice mixture to a small bowl; whisk in garlic, yogurt, and 2 Tbsp. oil.
  2. Generously season chicken with salt, then smear yogurt mixture all over. Let sit on a rimmed baking sheet at room temperature at least 30 minutes, or chill, uncovered, up to 12 hours. If chilling, let chicken sit at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Place chicken, breast side up, in pan, then nestle shallots, cut side down, and lemon slices around. Season shallots and lemon with salt. Tuck in oregano sprigs and cook, undisturbed, until shallots are starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour ½ cup water into pan; transfer skillet to oven, arranging so legs are pointing toward back of oven. Roast until skin has taken on some color, 10–15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°; continue to roast until chicken is cooked through and tender (an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast should register 155°; it will climb to 165° as the chicken rests) and shallots are jammy, 60–70 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and carve as desired. Arrange on a platter; tuck shallots and lemon slices around. Spoon juices in pan over, top with oregano leaves, and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Recipe by Andy Baraghani for Bon Appétit

Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Aioli

Occasionally, when grocery shopping, we come across great meat prices, so we buy what strikes our fancy with the intention of vacuum-sealing and storing in one of our freezers until a future date. It dawned on us we could never remember exactly what we bought and where it was stored, so we started writing a list. Well, that hand-written list became messy and hard to decipher so then we had the brilliant idea to keep an Excel spreadsheet and share it on One Drive so that it can be accessed from any of our devices.

For the most part, it’s been a tremendous aid, until we neglect to delete items that we’ve already used. I’m telling you this because that’s exactly what happened for this meal. The day before we planned on cooking it, I went to retrieve the flank steak from the downstairs freezer, which is where the Excel file said it was, and couldn’t find it, nor could The Hubs.

But Excel also indicated we had two packages of flap meat, which actually happens to be more to our liking than flank steak. So yes, you guessed it, we did use the flap meat for this recipe—and removed it from the Freezer Inventory database.

Here, the steak and sweet potatoes share a spice rub, but they are cooked separately. The steak is sear-roasted in a screaming-hot skillet, then finished in a moderate oven. Molly Stevens author of the original recipe, suggests leaving the skin on the sweet potatoes to obtain a textural contrast with the smooth insides and rugged skin. We chose otherwise.

Rubbing the steak ahead of time and leaving uncovered in the fridge for 2-12 hours, allows the the spice rub to works its magic in keeping the meat juicy, and it also gives the flavors time to penetrate and enhance the taste of the steak.

The smoky-spicy aioli is fabulous when drizzled over both the potatoes and steak bringing it all together. We made a note in the cookbook to double the aioli next time—it’s that good! A simple side salad completed the meal and added that fresh component.

Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Aioli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. paprika, sweet or hot
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 to 2 lb. flank steak or flap meat
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or peanut oil

The Aioli

  • 1⁄2 tsp. canned chipotle in adobo, minced; plus 1⁄2 tsp. adobo sauce from can
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Salt
  • 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Combine paprika, cumin, chili powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in half.
  2. With the steak on a platter, sprinkle half of the spice mixture all over the steak, rubbing it into the meat. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours, and up to 12 hours.
  3. Combine the chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and mash to a paste with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mayonnaise and olive oil. Add the lime juice, stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Heat the oven to 400°.
  5. Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise in half and then into wedges that are about 1-inch across at their widest part. If any of them are 6 inches or more, cut them in half. Put them on a rimed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil, and toss to coat. Season with the remaining spice rub and toss again. Spread out in a single layer.
  6. Roast in preheated oven until tender, about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  7. After the sweet potatoes have roasted for about 20 minutes, heat a large ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron, until very hot. Coat with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sear the steak until well-browned on the first side, about 1 1⁄2 minutes. Flip and brown the second side for another 2 minutes.
  8. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare (120° to 125°); 7 to 9 minutes for medium (125° to 130°).
  9. If the potatoes are done before the steak, let them sit at room temperature, or leave them in the oven with the temperature turned off. Do not cover with foil or they will steam and turn soggy.
  10. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  11. Thinly slice the steak against the grain (if using flap meat, serves in large chunks). Serve the sweet potatoes along side, spooning a little aioli over everything. Pass any extra aioli around the table.

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Adapted from a recipe in All About Dinner by Molly Stevens

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Here’s a perfect solution to celebrating a traditional St. Patrick’s day dinner without the usual long process. It’s an easy express route that uses your pressure cooker/Instant Pot. Even this method takes over two hours, so plan ahead.

When it comes to the meat itself, we prefer a thicker brisket as opposed to the flatter ones. Mix up the sour cream, whole-grain mustard and horseradish into one condiment adjusting the taste to suit your personal preferences. In our case, that means a lot of horseradish!

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling spice
  • 4 lbs. corned beef brisket, (one piece), rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, cleaned and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small head green cabbage, core intact, cut into thick wedges
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Sour cream, prepared horseradish and whole-grain mustard, for serving

Directions

  1. Put the onion, thyme, garlic, pickling spice, brisket and 6 cups water into an Instant Pot®. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook.
  2. Seal and cook on high pressure for 85 minutes. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release, then remove the meat and set aside.
  3. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and return 2 cups back to the Instant Pot® along with the butter.
  4. Add the rutabaga, leeks, carrots and cabbage to the Instant Pot®. Seal and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Quick release the steam.
  5. Thinly slice the brisket across the grain and transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the vegetables around the meat, sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the sour cream, horseradish and mustard on the side.

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Adapted from a recipe by Food Network

Vegetable Fried Rice

Similar to it’s meat cousin, Pork-Fried Rice, this vegetable version with simple seasonings and a balance of mix-ins makes for a frugal and incredibly satisfying meal—or side dish. Typically you use day old rice, but if you cook rice like pasta, in other words in a lot of water with salt for 10 minutes then drain and cool it, you don’t have to make it ahead of time. Plus cooking it like pasta rids the raw grains of any surface starch so that it readily breaks apart into individual grains.

But, if you have leftover rice here’s the deal. Day-old jasmine rice works best; the varietal is loaded with a popcorn-y aromatic compound that perfumes the fried rice with gorgeous fragrance, and when stir-fried, the hard, dry clumps relax into tender-firm, distinct grains. All rice should be roughly room temperature when you stir-fry. 

To make fluffy, tender pockets of scrambled eggs, pour the raw beaten eggs into oil that is just smoking (not merely shimmering); the eggs will puff as their water rapidly turns to steam and their proteins set.

There’s no garlic or ginger to mince, no spices or curry paste to bloom, and no sauce to mix up, which keeps the prep work minimal and the backdrop neutral, not plain, simply highlighting the namesake ingredient: rice. However, you may want to serve with soy sauce on the side for those who wish a bit more flavor.

In case you are curious why this is labeled vegetarian, since they are not technically animal flesh, eggs are usually thought of as vegetarian. Eggs that have been fertilized and therefore have the potential to become an animal may not be considered vegetarian.

Vegetable Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 oz. white mushrooms, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, room temperature
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Directions

  1. Beat eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl until well combined. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch carbon-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until oil is just smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.
  2. Add eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until very little liquid egg remains, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to the large plate.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon oil to now-empty wok and reduce heat to medium. Add carrot and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to plate with eggs.
  4. Add scallion whites and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty wok. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir until combined. (It’s OK if some clumps of rice remain.) Spread into even layer. Sprinkle pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt evenly over rice. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and pressing on rice with spatula to break up clumps, until grains are separate and heated through, 2 to 5 minutes longer.
  5. Add peas, egg and mushroom mixture, and scallion greens and cook, stirring frequently and using edge of spatula to break eggs into small pieces, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Serve with soy sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Umbrian-Style Chicken alla Cacciatora Revisited

Did you know that Umbria, in central Italy, is home to a tomato-free version of Chicken alla Cacciatora? Rather, the rustic braise gets it character from lemon, olives, garlic and herbs. Capers also are customary, but this version uses pancetta instead to build rich, savory depth. Finally, alternatively to cutting up a whole chicken, which is what we usually do, here we substitute bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Strips of lemon zest are simmered into the sauce to infuse the dish with subtle citrusy notes. For easiest results, use a sharp vegetable peeler to plane off wide strips of zest from the fruit; each piece should be roughly 2 to 3 inches long. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe skillet for this recipe, our 3-quart Le Creuset “Baby Blue” enameled cast-iron pot was perfect.

Fantastic! The combination of flavors had so much depth, we wanted to lick our plates clean. I know we loved the previous version using an entire chicken and capers, but this riff may have raised the bar to another level…

Umbrian-Style Chicken alla Cacciatora

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup pitted green or black olives or a combination, drained and halved
  • 4 strips lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken skin down and cook without disturbing until golden brown on the bottom, 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin up to a large plate.
  3. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet and set the pan over medium. Add the pancetta and onion, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, olives and lemon zest. Return the chicken skin up to the skillet and pour in the accumulated juices. Transfer to the oven and cook until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 175°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven; the handle will be hot. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin up to a serving platter, then remove and discard the rosemary and lemon zest. Bring the liquid in the pan to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce around the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe from Milk Street

Garlic Mushroom Pasta

According to chef/author Suzy Karadheh, this is hands-down the BEST mushroom pasta recipe without cream. Rich and velvety with loads of mushrooms, garlic, shallots, a little parmesan, and a lighter silky-smooth sauce.

An easy recipe, it has two main components: the pasta and the mushroom sauce. Once you cook the pasta and sauté the mushrooms, everything will come together with a light sauce in one pan.

A typical pasta with mushrooms usually involves a heavy cream-based sauce that you would likely cook separately and then spoon over the pasta. Making a hearty garlic mushroom pasta without cream or too much butter is fairly simple. The science behind this is using a little of the starchy pasta water.

Walnuts were in the original list of ingredients, but you know how The Hubs detests those little nuggets, claiming they taste like soap. I personally love them, but to keep the peace they went by the wayside. And the dish didn’t seem to suffer without them!

Garlic Mushroom Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. dry pasta, such as orecchiette, campanelle or farfalle
  • Kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp. of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ cup packed parsley, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes to taste, optional

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling salted water according to box instructions. Keep 1 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive and butter over medium-high heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook, tossing regularly for 2 to 3 minutes (manage the heat so that the garlic does not burn).
  3. Add all the mushrooms and toss them around in the pan for a couple of minutes, adding another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt, black pepper and the rosemary. Cook the mushrooms for about 7 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they turn color and release their juices.
  4. Add the tomato paste, wine and about ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes (this becomes your mushroom pasta sauce).
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce. Toss to combine. If needed add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese and finish with a sprinkle of parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadheh