Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking techniques produce a quick take on this dinnertime staple.
This recipe works by elevating a ground beef filling with melted cheese and spices to give it a richness reminiscent of long-braised beef. When crafting the enchilada sauce, we used whole dried chiles for a deeper and more complex flavor than can be achieved when using commercial chili powder. Brushing the tortillas lightly with oil and briefly baking them helped waterproof them so that they didn't get soggy when baked in the enchilada sauce. Fresh herbs and a spritz of lime brightened the dish and provided balance for the rich, cheesy filling.
Not a fan of mushrooms? These crunchy morsels might convert you.
Our goal was to develop a recipe for fried mushrooms with perfectly seasoned, crispy exteriors and tender (not soggy or wet) interiors. Because smaller varieties of mushrooms can overcook and sog out, we chose to use portobello mushrooms cut into ½-inch-thick slices. These meaty slices could withstand enough time in the hot oil for the crispy coating to become golden brown without overcooking. For a breading that would adhere to the mushrooms and stay crispy, we coated the mushrooms with a light batter of flour, water, egg, and salt followed by a crispy, cheesy mixture of panko and Parmesan cheese seasoned with oregano and red pepper flakes. We found that shallow frying the mushrooms in just 2 cups of oil in a skillet resulted in even browning, while deep frying made the mushrooms float, and when we tried to flip them, they just flipped right back, so we couldn't get browning on both sides. These fries are delicious with jarred marinara sauce, but we also developed a creamy dip to pair with them. The mixture of sour cream, jarred hot cherry peppers, parsley, garlic, honey, and salt made the perfect companion to our mushroom fries.
The cocoa powder debate has always been Dutch-processed versus natural. Our research settles it.
When we want big chocolate flavor in everything from cookies and cakes to puddings and pies, we turn to cocoa powder. It has a higher proportion of flavorful cocoa solids than any other form of chocolate, so ounce for ounce, it tastes more intensely chocolaty. It's made in two styles—Dutch-processed and natural—and there's fierce debate in the baking world about which is best. Both styles have staunch supporters who are convinced that using the wrong type will ruin a dessert. For years, we also viewed Dutched and natural cocoa powders as distinctly different products. But when we last ev...
For deeply flavored, tender, bright-green beans for salad, we looked to the sea.
For deeply flavored, tender, bright-green beans for salad, we looked to the sea.
Like a decadent brownie, but there's no baking involved.
These truffle-like treats hit the spot as the ultimate homemade chocolate snack, without requiring the hassle of an oven. Crushed chocolate sandwich cookies created a decadent, fudgy base, which was bound together with melted chocolate chips, butter, and sweetened condensed milk. After chilling, an extra layer of melted chocolate added more complexity and creaminess.
With the proper technique, you can stir-fry like a pro.
For a stir-fry with well-browned, tender and savory beef, just follow these guidelines. Start with full-flavored flank steak. Marinate the beef in soy sauce to ensure that each slice is well-seasoned. Use a large skillet and cook in batches to get the best browning. Add aromatics like ginger and garlic at the last minute to prevent them from scorching.
Dough, sauce, and no cheese? Philly tomato pie challenges the pizza equation.
This South Philadelphia specialty boasts a tender yet chewy crust topped with a bright, savory tomato sauce; this version is inspired by our visit to Cacia's Bakery in Philadelphia. We achieved the signature chewy-soft crust by using less water by weight in proportion to the weight of the flour. This yielded fine holes and a pleasantly spongy chew. Letting the dough rise twice—pressing it into the pan in between—gave it maximum yeasty flavor. For the invigorating, sweet-tart, herby sauce, we started with a savory base of onion and garlic and then added a hefty amount of dried oregano along with red pepper flakes for kick. One can of tomato sauce provided just the right tomato flavor and texture, and a tablespoon of sugar contributed the sauce's signature sweetness.
Crunchy croutons, melty cheese, and savory soup all in one bite.
The key to this bistro classic was a shortcut-free, hour-long caramelization of the onions. We started with a mountain of sliced onions in a Dutch oven with some melted butter, salt (to draw out moisture), and sugar (to jump-start caramelization). We cooked the onions covered at first to trap steam and soften them, and then we removed the lid to allow the released liquid to evaporate. We continued to cook the onions, scraping up and stirring in the browned bits (or fond) that formed, until the onions were soft and caramel-colored. Deglazing with wine (red for its robust flavor) ensured that all the flavorful browned bits ended up in the soup. We added rich, meaty beef broth, as well as thyme and bay leaves, and simmered it all together until the flavors melded. To make the soup easier to eat, we decided to forgo the traditional toasted slice of baguette in favor of more easily spoonable croutons. To assemble, we ladled the soup into individual crocks and then topped them with the croutons, shredded Gruyère, and shredded Parmesan (for extra nuttiness). A bit of Gruyère under the croutons protected the bread from getting too soggy.
To hit their sweet spot we threw out the cardinal rule of roasting sweet potatoes.
We wanted a roasted sweet potato recipe that gave us potatoes with a nicely caramelized exterior, a smooth, creamy interior, and an earthy sweetness. We started the sliced potatoes in a cold (versus preheated) oven, covering them with foil, to allow plenty of time for their starches to convert to sugars. We removed the foil after 30 minutes and continued to roast the potatoes until crisp. We had our perfect roasted sweet potato recipe: super-sweet and tender potatoes with a slightly crisp, caramelized exterior.
3 Simple Ways to Prevent Your Pie Crust from Overbrowning
It’s fun and games until your pie crust overbrowns. Here’s how to prevent it.
This Ohio favorite belongs on tables everywhere.
By adding the raw rice to a savory mixture of butter, broth, and tomato, we cooked the rice and flavored it at the same time. The rice soaked up the spicy liquid (powered by pepper flakes and paprika) while thickening the mixture along the way. A few more tablespoons of butter stirred in at the end gave a luxurious and creamy texture to the fully cooked hot rice, and finishing with chopped cherry peppers packed a last bit of spicy punch.
Steak tips smothered with mushroom and onion gravy is a classic combination.
Steak tips smothered with mushroom and onion gravy is a classic combination. But this dish is too often plagued by chewy, overcooked beef, bland gravy, and prefab ingredients like canned cream of mushroom soup. We wanted tender, meaty steak and full-flavored gravy, enriched by fresh mushrooms and onions, and we wanted to do it all in one pan, so naturally we turned to our cast-iron skillet. We started by searing the meat in batches, creating flavorful browning and fond without overcrowding the pan. After removing the meat from the skillet, we added our mushrooms and onions, covered them, and let the mushrooms release their liquid. We then cooked off the liquid, scraping up all the flavorful browned bits the beef left behind and concentrating the mushroom flavor. We finished our gravy by adding savory garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Allowing the meat to finish cooking in the gravy blended the flavors and built depth. A touch of fresh parsley and bright red wine vinegar added at the very end rounded out the dish.
This unlikely pairing of ingredients makes for a stellar winter salad.
We were after a fresh, crunchy, bold salad made with winter produce. We started build- ing this salad with half a head of thinly sliced red cabbage and added in another wintertime favorite: grapefruit. To make the fruit easier to eat, we cut it into supremes (wedges freed from their bitter membranes). We then squeezed the juice from the remaining pulp and used it as the base for a vinaigrette with grapefruit zest, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Red onion and cilantro added the pungency and sweet herbal freshness we were looking for. We let the dressed salad sit for 30 minutes before serving to soften the cabbage and allow the flavors to meld. For a finishing touch and welcome crunch, we sprinkled the salad with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
We tested stone-ground flours from small mills to learn how to shop for and bake with them.
Stone milling is having a resurgence across the country. We tested stone-ground flours from small mills to learn how to shop for and bake with them.
This braise of custardy tofu cloaked in a garlicky, spicy meat sauce is a signature Sichuan dish.
Our version of this iconic Sichuan comfort food is bold in flavor, with a balanced spiciness. We started with cubed soft tofu, poaching it gently in chicken broth to help the cubes stay intact in the braise. For the sauce base, we used plenty of ginger and garlic along with four Sichuan pantry powerhouses: Asian broad bean chili paste (doubanjiang), fermented black beans (douchi), Sichuan chili powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. A small amount of ground beef acted as a seasoning, not as a primary component of the dish. In place of the chili oil often called for, we used a generous amount of vegetable oil, extra Sichuan chili powder, and toasted sesame oil. We finished the dish with just the right amount of cornstarch to create a velvety thickness.
In this dish, peas and salmon go together like, well, two peas in a pod.
Mixing Dijon mustard and lemon zest into softened butter made a piquant compound butter. When dolloped over seared salmon, the butter softened and melted, coating the fish and dripping into the rice to add extra richness.
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