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: Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Napa Cabbage Slaw
Guay Tiew Tom Yum Goong contains generous amounts of shrimp and rice noodles—along with oyster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes—in a highly aromatic broth bursting with hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. We create vibrancy by smashing galangal, scallions, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, and Thai chiles to release their flavorful oils and then simmer them in chicken broth. To round out the classic flavor profile, we finish the soup with fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and Thai basil. Napa Cabbage Slaw with Snow Peas and Mint offers a more tender, delicate texture and a sweeter flavor than traditional green cabbage slaw. To avoid a bland, watered-down slaw, we make a potent dressing with a high ratio of vinegar to oil. After tossing the cabbage with the dressing and letting it sit for about 5 minutes, moisture from the cabbage dilutes the dressing slightly, so the slaw reaches the perfect level of bright acidity.
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Dinner 2: Spanish-Style Meatballs and Spanish Potatoes with Olive Oil
Our recipe for Albóndigas (Spanish-Style Meatballs in Almond Sauce) features tender, tapas-sized meatballs in a flavorful, nicely thickened almond sauce. We start by mixing ground pork, garlic, parsley, egg, and a panade of bread and water in a food processor. Next, we gently cook the meatballs in a mixture of white wine, chicken broth, and softened onion flavored with paprika and saffron. The dish is finished with a picada, a flavorful combination of toasted bread crumbs, almonds, garlic, and parsley. Patatas Panaderas is a simple yet luxurious dish of thinly sliced potatoes accented with onions and garlic and baked in white wine and plenty of olive oil.
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Dinner 3: Mahogany Chicken Thighs and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
Our recipe for Mahogany Chicken Thighs uses a hybrid cooking technique to achieve moist, flavorful meat and crispy skin. We start by gently simmering the thighs in a potent mixture of soy sauce, sherry, ginger, and garlic to an internal temperature of 195 degrees, which converts the tough connective tissues into rich gelatin and boosts the flavor. A brief flash under the broiler crisps the skin and gives it a rich mahogany color. Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Miso Sauce is lightly steamed to soften the stems before being quickly sautéed. A mixture of white miso and mirin forms the base of a salty and sweet sauce.