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29 July 2006

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26 July 2006

Roast Beef

Sunday-Best Garlic Roast Beef

Serves 6 to 8

Look for a top sirloin roast (see photo in related tasting) that has a thick, substantial fat cap still attached. The rendered fat will help to keep the roast moist. When making the jus, taste the reduced broth before adding any of the accumulated meat juices from the roast. The meat juices are well seasoned and may make the jus too salty. A heavy-duty roasting pan with a dark or nonstick finish or a broiler pan is a must for this recipe.


Beef
8 large cloves garlic , unpeeled
1 top sirloin roast (4-pound), with some fat intact

Garlic-Salt Rub
3 large cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Garlic Paste
12 large cloves garlic , peeled, cloves cut in half lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Ground black pepper

Jus
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1. For the beef: Toast unpeeled garlic cloves in small skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until spotty brown, about 8 minutes. Set garlic aside. When cool enough to handle, peel cloves and cut into 1/4-inch slivers.

2. Using paring knife, make 1-inch-deep slits all over roast. Insert toasted garlic into slits.

3. For the garlic-salt rub: Mix minced garlic, thyme, and salt together in small bowl. Rub all over roast. Place roast on large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

4. For the garlic paste: Heat halved garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles start to rise to surface. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is soft, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Strain, reserving oil. Discard herbs and transfer garlic to small bowl. Mash garlic with 1 tablespoon garlic oil until paste forms. Cover and refrigerate paste until ready to use. Cover and reserve garlic oil.

5. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place nonstick roasting pan or broiler pan bottom on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paper towels, wipe garlic-salt rub off beef. Rub beef with 2 tablespoons reserved garlic oil and season with pepper. Transfer meat, fat side down, to preheated pan and roast, turning as needed until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Remove roasting pan from oven. Turn roast fat side up and, using spatula, coat top with garlic paste. Return meat to oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 70 minutes. Transfer roast to cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

7. For the jus: Drain excess fat from roasting pan and place pan over high heat. Add broths and bring to boil, using wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Add accumulated juices from roast and cook 1 minute. Pour through fine-mesh strainer. Slice roast crosswise against grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve with jus.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin


Spicy Glazed Pork Tenderloins

Serves 4

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup lime juice from 2 limes
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 jalapeño chile , seeded and minced
2 pork tenderloins (12 to 16 ounces each), trimmed of silver skin

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Stir pineapple juice, lime juice, brown sugar, molasses, cumin, cayenne, and jalapeño in small bowl. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook tenderloins, turning until browned on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes total. Reduce heat to medium, add lime juice mixture, and cook, rolling tenderloins to coat, until mixture is thick and syrupy and internal temperature of tenderloins registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 9 to 11 minutes.

3. Transfer tenderloins to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest until internal temperature rises to 150 degrees, about 10 minutes. Cut tenderloins crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, arrange on platter, and pour glaze in pan over slices. Serve.

Steak Tips with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Thyme


Steak Tips with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Thyme

Serves 4

Steak tips are sold as whole steaks, cubes, and strips. For this recipe, use strips and cut them into 6- to 8-inch-long pieces, if necessary.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces white mushrooms , halved or quartered if large
4 cloves garlic , sliced thin
1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips (see note above), patted dry

Table salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and push mushrooms to sides of pan. Add 1 teaspoon oil and garlic to clearing in center of pan and stir until garlic is browned and crisp, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic into mushrooms, cook for 30 seconds, then transfer mixture to serving platter.

2. Increase heat to high, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet, and season steak with salt and pepper. Place steak in pan so pieces are not touching. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to platter and tent loosely with foil.

3. Combine brandy and broth in small bowl. Add to pan along with thyme and mushroom mixture. Using wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add accumulated beef juices back to pan, whisk in mustard and butter, and season with pepper. Pour mushrooms and sauce over meat. Serve.

Weeknight Chili (Cooks Illustrated)


Slow-Cooker Weeknight Chili

Serves 10 to 12

Serve this all-American classic with sour cream and cheese to cool the burn. For less heat, reduce the cayenne pepper to 1/4 teaspoon or omit it altogether. The ground beef will become dry if the chili is cooked for more than 8 hours.

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces bacon , chopped fine
2 onions , chopped medium
1 red bell pepper , chopped medium
6 cloves garlic , minced
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground chuck

Table salt and ground black pepper

1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15.5-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans , drained and rinsed

1. Toast chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne, and pepper flakes in large Dutch oven over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer toasted spices to bowl. Add bacon to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels and pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pot. Return pot to medium heat, add onions and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add beef, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, using wooden spoon to break up beef into 1/2-inch pieces, until just slightly pink, about 5 minutes. Drain beef and vegetables in colander.

3. Add tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and toasted spices to empty pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Return drained beef and vegetable mixture and bacon to pot, stir to combine, and bring to simmer. Transfer contents to slow-cooker insert.

4. Set slow cooker to low, cover, and cook until tender, 6 to 8 hours, stirring in beans during last hour of cooking. (Alternately, cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.) Adjust seasonings and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for several months.)

Make Ahead

If you’d prefer to just dump the chili ingredients into the slow cooker before running off to work, you can do all the work the night before. Follow the recipe through step 3, but continue to simmer the assembled chili for 10 minutes. Transfer the chili to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, simmer the chili in a Dutch oven for 10 minutes, then transfer it to your slow cooker and proceed with step 4.

Slow-Cooker Mexican-Style Pork Stew (Cooks Illustrated)


Slow-Cooker Mexican-Style Pork Stew

Serves 6 to 8

This traditional Mexican stew features shredded pork and hominy. Hominy is a dried corn from which the hull and germ have been removed. You can find hominy in cans in the international aisle of your supermarket. Serve with tortillas, diced red onion, and wedges of lime.

5 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs , trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped medium
2 tablespoons chili powder
5 cloves garlic , minced

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 (14-ounce) cans white or yellow hominy , rinsed
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. Dry the pork with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the pork, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining pork.

2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, then pour into the slow cooker.

3. Add the broth, hominy, and oregano to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.

4. Transfer the meat to a large bowl and let cool. Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it using your fingers, discarding any gristle, and add it back to the slow cooker. Before serving, stir in the cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Make Ahead

The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them, but be sure to store the browned meat in one container and the vegetables and liquid in another container. In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe.

Slow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce with Pork


Slow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce with Pork

Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

If you prefer a beefy sauce, three pounds of boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces, can be substituted for the pork. This recipe makes enough for a hungry crowd or enough to freeze leftovers for later. It is substantial enough to serve with pasta and a crisp green salad for a complete meal.

3 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs , trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped medium
12 cloves garlic , minced
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Dry the pork with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the pork, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining pork.

2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the wine and tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes, then pour into the slow cooker.

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with their juice, the oregano, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

4. Let the sauce settle for 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the pieces of meat. Before tossing the sauce with cooked pasta, discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Make Ahead

The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them, but be sure to store the browned meat in one container and the remaining ingredients in another container. In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe.

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce


Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Makes 12 cups-enough to sauce 4 pounds of pasta

Because steam rises from the sauce as it cooks, it’s best to place the slow cooker on a counter with no cabinetry overhead. If you need more than the 7 or 8 hours of cooking time called for in the recipe, in step 3 set the lid halfway off the cooker rather than removing it, then simmer the sauce for 10 to 11 hours. Freeze leftover sauce in airtight containers for up to 2 months.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion , chopped fine
1 small carrot , peeled and chopped fine
1/2 rib celery , chopped fine
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 pounds meatloaf mix , or 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck and 1 1/2 pounds ground pork

Table salt and ground black pepper
3 cups whole milk
3 cups dry white wine
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes , ground in blender until smooth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened but not colored, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add meat, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up meat, until crumbled into tiny pieces and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Add milk, bring to vigorous simmer, and cook until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, and thyme; cover and bring to boil. Transfer mixture to slow cooker, cover, set temperature to high, and bring to boil.

3. Once mixture comes to boil, remove lid and simmer until sauce is very thick, 7 to 8 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Make Ahead

This recipe can be partially made the night before so that it’s ready to place in the slow cooker in the morning. Complete steps 1 and 2 and refrigerate the mixture in the Dutch oven. The next morning, bring the mixture back to a boil, transfer it to the slow cooker, and proceed as directed.

Slow-Cooked Smothered Pork Chops

Slow-Cooked Smothered Pork Chops

Serves 6

These pork chops are so tender that you'll need to remove them from the slow cooker with a spoon.

4 slices bacon , chopped fine

Vegetable oil (if necessary)
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops , about 3/4 inch thick

Table salt and ground black pepper
3 yellow onions , halved and sliced into 1/2-inch half-moons
1 teaspoon light brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup water plus 2 tablespoons
3 cloves garlic , minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
3 containers low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Fry bacon in large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels, leaving fat in pan (you should have 2 tablespoons fat; if not, supplement with oil). Refrigerate bacon.

2. Heat fat over high heat until smoking. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 3 chops until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chops to slow-cooker insert. Repeat with remaining chops and transfer to slow-cooker insert.

3. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water to now-empty skillet. Using wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from pan bottom and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Pour onion mixture over chops in slow-cooker insert. Add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to boil, and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.

4. Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is very tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).

5. When ready to serve, reheat bacon in large saucepan until crisp and transfer to small bowl. Carefully transfer chops to serving platter with large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through mesh strainer into now-empty saucepan. Transfer solids to blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir back into remaining liquid in saucepan. Mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops, and sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serve.

Make Ahead
The recipe can be prepared through step 3 a day in advance. Refrigerate the chops separately and the onion and broth mixtures together. In the morning, place the chops in the slow-cooker insert; bring the broth and onion mixture to a boil in a skillet, and pour it over the chops. Proceed as directed.

Skillet Lasagna (Cooks Illustrated)

Skillet Lasagna

Serves 4 to 6

Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, sold pre-packaged in many supermarkets. If it's unavailable, use ground beef. Use a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.


1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion , minced

Table salt
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles , broken into 2-inch lengths

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 additional tablespoons

Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

Red Beans and Rice (Cooks Illustrated)


Red Beans and Rice

Serves 8 to 10

Andouille is the traditional sausage for this dish, but we also had good results with kielbasa.

4 slices bacon , chopped medium
1 small onion , chopped fine
1 green bell pepper , chopped fine
1 rib celery , chopped fine
4 cloves garlic , minced

Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves

Table salt
1 pound dried red kidney beans , rinsed and picked over
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
7 cups water
1/2 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
6 cups cooked long-grain rice (from 3 cups raw rice)

Hot pepper sauce

1. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned and fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon pepper, oregano, thyme, cayenne, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, beans, broth, and water, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain vigorous simmer (mixture will be steaming and several bubbles should be breaking the surface) and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft and liquid thickens, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

2. Stir in sausage and cook until liquid is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot cooked rice with hot pepper sauce, if desired. (Leftover beans can be refrigerated in airtight container for several days.)

Quick and Crunchy Pork Chops (Cooks Illustrated)

Quick and Crunchy Pork Chops

Serves 4

For a substantial crust, don't break up the Melba toasts too much, and coat the chops well with mayonnaise. Although an instant-read thermometer takes the guesswork out of determining when the meat is done, you can use the "nick-and-peek" method: Use a paring knife to make a slit in the top of the pork chop and take a look at the meat's interior. The Melba crumbs can be made weeks in advance and stored in the freezer. Applesauce is a natural with these chops.

1 (5-ounce) box Melba toast , broken into rough pieces
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 center-cut boneless pork chops , 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick (each 6 to 7 ounces), patted dry with paper towels

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Place Melba toast pieces, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, and sugar in heavy-duty zipper-lock freezer bag. Seal bag and pound with heavy blunt object (such as a rolling pin) until Melba toasts are crushed but still have some crumbs the size of small pebbles. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise to bag and work mayonnaise evenly into crumb mixture by gently squeezing outside of bag. Transfer Melba crumb mixture to large plate.

2. Using your fingers, coat 1 chop with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. Transfer to plate with Melba crumbs, sprinkle top of pork chop with some Melba mixture, and press down firmly on chop to adhere crumbs. Flip chop and repeat, making sure that thick layer of crumbs coats both sides and edges. Transfer breaded pork chop to baking rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chops.

3. Bake pork chops until juices run clear and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chop registers 145 to 150 degrees, 16 to 22 minutes. Remove chops from oven and let rest on rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pork Chops with Spicy Orange Glaze (Cooks Illustrated)


Pork Chops with Spicy Orange Glaze

Serves 4

Starting the pork chops in a cold skillet allows them to heat up slowly and hold on to their interior moisture--a method that works best with thin chops. If using an electric stove, turn the burner to medium just before seasoning the chops in step 1.

4 bone-in pork rib chops or center-cut chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon olive oil plus 1 additional tablespoon

Table salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic , minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup orange juice

1. Rub each chop with 1/4 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin. Sprinkle one side of each chop with 1/8 teaspoon sugar.

2. Place chops, sugared side down, in large nonstick skillet and press meat into pan. Cook, without moving, over medium heat until lightly browned, 6 to 9 minutes. Turn chops, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until center of chops registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer chops to platter, tent with foil, and let rest while making sauce.

3. Add remaining tablespoon oil, garlic, and pepper flakes to empty pan and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add juice and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Tip accumulated juices from platter with chops into skillet, cook 1 minute, season with salt and pepper, and pour sauce over chops. Serve.

Pan-Seared Steaks with Worcestershire and Butter Sauce (Cooks Illustrated)

Pan-Seared Steaks with Worcestershire and Butter Sauce

Serves 4

To ensure that the steaks remain juicy after cooking, let them rest for 5 minutes even if you’re not making the pan sauce. If using a large steak, such as round bone or shoulder, however, only one steak will fit in the pan at a time, so plan accordingly.


Steaks
4 boneless beef steaks (8 ounces each), 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick, trimmed

Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Worcestershire and Butter Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 shallots , minced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Table salt and ground black pepper

1. For the steaks: Pat the steaks dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the steaks on the first side, about 4 minutes.

2. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook to the desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. For the sauce: Meanwhile, add the oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in Worcestershire, mustard, and any accumulated meat juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the steaks or chops before serving.

Pan-Seared Steaks with Balsamic Onions (Cooks Illustrated)


Pan-Seared Steaks with Balsamic Onions

Serves 4

The cooking times here yield medium-rare steaks. Because the sauce is so rich, we think three steaks (the maximum you can fit comfortably in a large skillet) will feed four people when sliced thin.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large red onions , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds, rings separated

Table salt and ground black pepper
3 boneless strip steaks (8- to 10-ounce), 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick
3 cloves garlic , minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar plus 1 additional tablespoon
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer onions to bowl. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and cook over medium-high heat until just smoking. Meanwhile, pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Cook steaks, without moving, until browned on first side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook until browned on second side, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer steaks to plate and wrap with foil.

3. Discard fat in skillet, return onions to pan, and set over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup vinegar, rosemary, and brown sugar and cook, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, until thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Pour any accumulated steak juices into pan along with remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Slice steaks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices and transfer to platter. Spoon onions and sauce over steak. Serve.

Mediterannean Pork Chops (Cooks Illustrated)

Mediterranean Pork Chops

Serves 4

To round out the meal, serve with couscous.

4 boneless rib pork chops or center-cut, about 1 inch thick

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini , cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic , minced
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
1/3 cup pitted black olives , halved

1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chops until well browned on both sides but still pink in center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to plate and cover with foil.

2. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and heat until just smoking. Add zucchini and salt to taste and cook, stirring, until spotty brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and oregano and bring to simmer, using wooden spoon to scrape bottom of pan. Push zucchini to sides of pan, return chops and any accumulated juices to pan, and cook until pork is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.

3. Transfer chops to serving platter. Add tomatoes and olives to skillet and toss to warm through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and spoon vegetable mixture over chops. Serve.

Flank Steak with Parsley Sauce (Cooks Illustrated)

Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic-Parsley Sauce

Serves 4

Don't waste hours marinating flank steak before cooking it. Coating the grilled steak with a potent sauce adds just as much flavor--and takes just 5 minutes.

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Table salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

1. Combine parsley, onion, garlic, vinegar, oil, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Season steak with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Grill steak over very hot fire until browned on both sides and slightly less done than you want, about 10 minutes.

3. Place steak in baking dish and coat with parsley sauce. Cover dish with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice steak thinly against grain and serve with sauce remaining in baking dish.

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Short Ribs (Cooks Illustrated)

Beer-Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4 to 6

The only way to remove fat from the braising liquid is to prepare this recipe a day or two before you want to serve it. Luckily, the short ribs actually taste better if cooked in advance and then reheated in the defatted braising liquid.

5 pounds English-style beef short ribs (6 to 8 ribs), trimmed of excess fat

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds yellow onions , halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer such as Newcastle Brown Ale and O'Doul's Amber Nonalcoholic
2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
12 pitted prunes
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of ribs, meaty side down, and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Following photo 1, turn each rib on one side and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining sides. Transfer ribs to slow-cooker insert, arranging them meaty side down, as shown in photo 2. Repeat with remaining ribs.

2. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet. Add butter and reduce heat to medium. When butter has melted, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, coating onions with tomato paste, until paste begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in beer, bring to simmer, and cook, scraping browned bits from pan bottom with wooden spoon, until foaming subsides, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in tapioca, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon thyme, soy sauce, and prunes. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.

3. Set slow cooker on low, cover, and cook until ribs are fork-tender, 10 to 11 hours. (Alternately, cook on high for 4 to 5 hours.) Transfer ribs to baking dish and strain liquid into bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

4. When ready to serve, use spoon to skim off hardened fat from liquid. Place short ribs, meaty side down, and liquid in Dutch oven and reheat over medium heat until warmed through, about 20 minutes. Transfer ribs to serving platter. Whisk mustard and remaining teaspoon thyme into sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1 cup sauce over ribs. Sprinkle with parsley and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Bacon-Wrapped Filets Mignons (Cooks Illustrated)


Bacon-Wrapped Filets Mignons

Serves 4

This is company food, perferct for a Saturday-night dinner party. The filets are seared on the stovetop and then cooked through on a preheated baking sheet in the oven, which gives you time to attend to side dishes.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 medium clove garlic , minced

Table salt and ground black pepper
4 slices bacon
4 center-cut filets mignons , each about 1 1/2 inches thick
4 teaspoons olive oil

1. With fork, beat butter, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

2. Wrap 1 bacon slice around each filet, overlapping ends and securing ends to filet with toothpick. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium skillet over high heat until just smoking. Sprinkle filets with salt and pepper. Place 2 filets in skillet and cook, without moving, until browned and nice crust has formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn filets and cook on second side, 2 1/2 minutes longer. Hold filets on their sides and crisp bacon slightly all around. Set filets aside on plate. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in empty skillet and sear remaining 2 filets.

4. Transfer all 4 seared filets to preheated baking sheet in oven. Roast 4 to 6 minutes for rare, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, or 8 to 10 minutes for medium. Transfer filets to large plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon some parsley-lemon butter onto each filet. Serve.

Sloppy Janes (Cooks Illustrated)


Sloppy Janes

Serves 4

Be careful not to cook the meat beyond pink in step 1; if you let it brown at this point it will end up dry and crumbly. The meat will finish cooking once the liquid ingredients are added. Serve, piled high on a bun, with your favorite pickles.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cloves garlic , minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound ground turkey

Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 hamburger buns

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and stir until coated with oil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 10 minutes (if onion begins to burn after 5 minutes, reduce heat to low). Add garlic and chili powder and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until just pink, about 3 minutes.

2. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, brown sugar, tomato puree, ketchup, water, and hot sauce. Simmer until Sloppy Joe sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Spoon meat mixture onto hamburger buns and serve.

Make Ahead

If you find yourself with leftover Sloppy Janes or just feel like making a double batch, the meat mixture freezes well for up to one month. To return the meat mixture to its original consistency, you may need to add a little water when it is reheated.

Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes (Cooks Illustrated)

Pasta with Chicken and Artichokes

Serves 4

The brined artichokes add a lot of salty flavor, so be judicious when seasoning.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, packed in brine , rinsed, dried on paper towels, and each cut into 6 wedges
6 cloves garlic , minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 pound bow-tie pasta

Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in pot for cooking pasta. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over high heat until foaming subsides. Cook chicken in single layer without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

2. Lower heat to medium and melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Cook artichokes until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add broth and simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, Parmesan, lemon juice, parsley, and chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.

3. As sauce cooks, add pasta and 2 teaspoons salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta, then return to pot. Toss with chicken and sauce, moistening with reserved water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Honey-Baked Chicken with Ginger and Soy (Cooks Illustrated)


Honey-Baked Chicken with Ginger and Soy

Serves 4 to 6

Because different cuts of chicken cook at different rates, we recommend one of the following options: Use only one cut of chicken (such as all breasts or all thighs) or be prepared to remove the various different cuts from the oven as soon as they reach their appropriate temperature for doneness.

4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (whole breasts, split breasts, whole legs, thighs, and/or drumsticks), trimmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic , minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a broiler-pan bottom with foil and lay the slotted broiler pan on top.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and arrange, skin-side up, on the broiler-pan top. Mix softened butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Rub the butter underneath the skin of the chicken. Brush the skin with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Roast until the breasts register 160 degrees or the legs, thighs, or drumsticks register 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 50 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with the honey, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Fiesta Chicken and Rice (Cooks Illustrated)


Fiesta Chicken and Rice

Serves 4

This dish is good on its own but even better with some accompaniments. Test kitchen favorites include warm flour tortillas, sliced avocado, minced jalapeños or a few dashes of hot sauce, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Table salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain rice
1 onion , chopped medium
4 cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
1 green bell pepper , chopped medium
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese
4 scallions , sliced thin

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook chicken until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate, leaving fat in pan.

2. Add rice, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are sizzling and toasted and onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes (reduce heat if rice browns too quickly). Stir in garlic, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, green pepper, and broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle chicken, browned side up, into rice and pour in any juices accumulated on plate. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

3. Working quickly, transfer chicken to cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Stir rice, replace cover, and continue cooking until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Slice chicken breasts into 1/2-inch pieces.

4. Remove skillet from heat. Arrange sliced chicken on top of rice and sprinkle with cheese and scallions. Cover and let stand until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve.