Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner This Week: Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Dinner 1: Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Cabbage
Our Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe employs a stovetop-to-oven method that yields a well-browned crust and a succulent, tender interior. For a maple glaze that will adhere to the meat we have several tricks. First, we mix the syrup with molasses and mustard to create a thicker glaze. Second, we coat the tenderloin with cornstarch so the glaze will bond to it. Third, we add a second coat of glaze when the meat is nearly done. In our recipe for Sautéed Cabbage with Fennel and Garlic, we mitigate the pungent flavors and sulfurous odors that can plague overcooked cabbage. Instead of boiling or braising, we pan-steam and sauté the cabbage over relatively high heat to cook it quickly and add an extra layer of flavor from browning. Soaking the cabbage before cooking reduces bitterness while providing extra moisture to help the cabbage steam.
Printable Shopping Lists: Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Cabbage with Fennel and Garlic
The Best Silicone SpatulasA spatula should feel like an extension of your arm, nimbly stirring, scraping, and folding any food you put in its path. Why is a good one so hard to find?
Dinner 2: Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Couscous Pilaf
Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Apricots offers the depth and flavor of an authentic tagine in about one hour. A standard braising procedure builds complexity: First, we brown skin-on pieces of chicken to give the braising liquid deep flavor; next, we remove the chicken from the pot; sauté onion, strips of lemon zest, garlic, and a heady spice blend (paprika, cumin, cayenne, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon) in a little oil; add chicken broth and honey; and finally, return the chicken to the pot. We use a “pilaf method” for our Couscous with Dates and Pistachios, gently browning the pasta to add a toastiness. We further bump up the flavor by using a combination of chicken broth and water, which we add to the pan after the couscous is toasted, and by stirring in dates and pistachios for textural and flavor contrast.
Printable Shopping Lists: Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Apricots and Apricots and Couscous with Dates and Pistachios
Cutting BoardsWe thought we’d picked a winner—until our favorite board warped after just a few years. This time we upped the ante: three months of test kitchen boot camp.
Dinner 3: Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta with Shrimp and Brussels Sprout Salad
Game Plan: The pasta and shrimp will require a fair amount of attention during cooking, so prepare all the ingredients for the salad first, including making the dressing. As the pasta and shrimp stand for 5 minutes, finish making the salad (if necessary, the pasta can stand a little longer than 5 minutes).
Our Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta is based on a traditional Spanish recipe called fideuà. To streamline the procedure but keep the deep flavor of classic recipe, we replace the traditional slow-cooked fish stock with a quick shrimp stock made with shrimp shells, chicken broth, water, and a bay leaf. We also save time by streamlining the sofrito (the aromatic base common in Spanish cooking), by finely mincing the onion to help it soften and brown more quickly and using canned tomato instead of fresh. The final tweak to our recipe was boosting the flavor of the shrimp by quickly marinating them in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. We dress our Brussels Sprout Salad with a warm mustard vinaigrette that gently tenderizes the sprouts while letting them retain their freshness. Bites of quick-pickled shallot and dried apricots add pop, while Ricotta salata cheese, chopped toasted pistachios, and watercress contribute richness, crunch, and a touch of bitterness.
Printable Shopping Lists: Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta with Shrimp and Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Mustard Vinaigrette
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.