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: Spinach and Chickpeas with Couscous
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Start by cooking the chickpeas (step 1). While the chickpeas are simmering, cook the couscous. Once the couscous is standing off heat, finish the chickpeas. Stir the remaining ingredients into the couscous right before serving.
Espinacas con Garbanzos (Andalusian Spinach and Chickpeas), a dish native to Seville, is substantive and full of flavor. Briefly simmering canned chickpeas in a combination of chicken broth and chickpea canning liquid tenderizes them and infuses them with savory flavor. A picada (a paste of garlic and bread cooked in olive oil) thickens and seasons the sauce. Smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and saffron imbues the picada with heady aromas, and tomatoes and vinegar boost its tang. Couscous with Carrots, Raisins, and Pine Nuts calls for the pilaf method to keep the pasta fluffy and separate: We first brown the couscous in butter, then add liquid, cover the pot, and let it stand until it is tender. We bump up the flavor and add textural contrast with sweet raisins and rich pine nuts.
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Dinner 2: Salmon Kedgeree with Sautéed Peas
Game Plan: The kedgeree calls for hot-smoked salmon: You can use leftovers from our recipe or smoked fish from the supermarket. Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Start by cooking the kedgeree. Once the salmon has been added to the skillet, sauté the peas.
Hot-Smoked Salmon Kedgeree is a jumble of buttery rice and onions dotted with flakes of smoked fish, hard-cooked eggs, and herbs and infused with lemony brightness. Though many modern versions contain turmeric, curry powder, and coriander in homage to the dish's Indian origins, ours features just a pinch of cayenne to keep the focus on the succulent and savory hot-smoked salmon. We use precooked, cooled basmati rice so that each grain remains distinct and intact. Sautéed Peas with Shallot and Mint start with frozen peas, which we often find to be sweeter and fresher tasting than fresh peas. We enliven the peas with ¼ cup of minced mint.
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Dinner 3: Turkey Meatballs and Stir-Fried Bok Choy
Game Plan: Prep, mix, and shape the meatballs (steps 1 and 2). While the meatballs rest, prep the bok choy ingredients. Cook the meatballs. Stir-fry the bok choy about 5 minutes before the meatballs are done.
Thanks to a couple of test kitchen tricks, our Turkey Meatballs with Soy and Sesame rival those made with beef or pork. We start with 93 or 85 percent lean turkey and add an egg and fresh bread crumbs to create a cohesive mixture. We also stir in a small amount of unflavored gelatin, which traps moisture and gives the meatballs a juicy mouthfeel. To boost meaty flavor, we add glutamate-rich Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and soy sauce. For crisp-tender Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Soy Sauce and Ginger, we separate the leaves and stalks and cook them separately. Small amounts of soy sauce and fresh ginger accent the bok choy’s fresh, vegetal flavor without overwhelming it.
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