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 1: Moroccan Fish Tagine with Couscous
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the tagine. Once the fish has been added to the pot in step 4, start cooking the couscous, keeping an eye on the fish as it cooks.
For a bright, flavorful Moroccan Fish Tagine, we start by salting chunks of cod to season the flesh and help it retain moisture. We coat the fish in chermoula, a flavorful herb-spice paste of cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, and olive oil, just before cooking to season its exterior. To keep the fish from overcooking, we turn off the heat once the broth is bubbling at the bottom of the pot and allow the fish to cook in the residual heat. For Basic Couscous we use the “pilaf method,” which allows the couscous to brown gently and uniformly, and cook up fluffy and separate. We bump up the flavor by using a combination of chicken broth and water.
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Dinner 2: Seared Flank Steak with Sauteed Corn
Game Plan: Start with getting the steaks in the oven. While the steaks bake, mix the butter, prep the corn ingredients, and cook the corn through step 1. While the steaks rest, finish cooking the corn.
To produce well-browned Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Sriracha-Lime Butter, we first cut a single steak into four individual steaks so that they fit neatly in a skillet. We then slowly bake the steaks before searing to ensure that all the pieces are evenly cooked to medium-rare. To ensure that the corn in our Sauteed Corn with Black Beans and Red Bell Pepper has rich, toasted flavor, it is important not to stir it in the skillet for a few minutes so it has a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, we mix in a hearty combination of black beans, bell peppers, and onions.
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Dinner 3: Thai Chicken Curry and Sticky Rice
Game Plan: The rice for this pairing needs to soak for 4 to 8 hours, so start it in the morning. When you are ready to cook, begin by steaming the rice. As it steams, prepare the curry. The two dishes will be done at about the same time.
Our Thai Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Peanuts is a massaman-style curry known for its depth and warm spices, but it's not spicy. For a flavorful curry paste, we start with the traditional shallots, ginger, and garlic and add dried New Mexican chiles, five-spice powder, and ground cumin, which act as stand-ins for the customary but hard-to-track-down Thai spices and chiles. We sauté the paste to further intensify its flavors before stirring in coconut milk and chicken broth. We then simmer potatoes, onion, chicken, and peanuts in the broth until tender. Traditionally, Thai-Style Sticky Rice (Khao Niaw) is cooked in a bamboo basket set over an hourglass-shaped aluminum pot, which allows the rice to steam on all sides. We mimic that setup with a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.