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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.
For juicy Skillet Turkey Burgers, we start by adding baking soda and gelatin to help keep the meat moist as it cooks. A bit of melted butter adds richness while soy sauce and Parmesan contribute savoriness. For a nicely browned exterior and evenly cooked interior, we start cooking the patties in a cold skillet so the exteriors can slowly start to brown while the interiors have time to reach the 160-degree serving temperature. Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary are crisp and deep golden brown on the exterior, with moist, velvety, dense interiors. To achieve this, we start with waxy red potatoes and cover them with foil for part of the roasting time to help keep them moist.
Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup of potatoes, greens (we like collards) and garlicky chorizo sausage. For a silky smooth, thick consistency, we puree a portion of the potatoes with olive oil and stir the mixture into the broth. A couple of teaspoons of white vinegar balances the richness of the rustic soup. Southern-Style Cornbread starts with making a cornmeal mush (moistening some of the cornmeal with some water) to produce a savory quick bread with a fine, moist crumb. Baking the cornbread in a cast-iron skillet produces a crisp, golden crust.
Cheap and tough, a cast-iron skillet is a kitchen workhorse, but the upkeep makes some cooks balk. Could enameled cast-iron pans, which need no special care, top the classic?
Braised Halibut with Leeks and Mustard features moist, succulent fish; tender pieces of leeks; and a sauce with balanced flavor and just the right amount of brightness. We like halibut for its sweet, delicate taste and firm texture. Because the bottom of the fillets are submerged in liquid and will cook more quickly than the upper halves that cook via steam, we start by sautéing the fillets for a few minutes on just one side and then braise the fillets parcooked side up to even out the cooking. For Rice Pilaf with fluffy, separate grains, we use a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1½ cups of water. Sautéeing the rice in 3 tablespoons of butter for just one minute gives the pilaf a rich, buttery flavor.