Skip to main content

Get instant access to everything. 2-Week Free Trial

Make 2021 the year of “Why not?” in the kitchen with Digital All Access. Get all our recipes, videos, and up-to-date ratings and cook anything with confidence.

Get Free Access ▸
Volume 62

Dinner This Week: Pupusas

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Pupusas, Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, and Italian Sausage with Grapes and Balsamic Vinegar for dinner in about an hour.

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: Cheese Pupusas with Curtido

Pupusas, a traditional dish from El Salvador and Honduras, consist of small masa harina cakes stuffed with cheese. Hydrating the masa harina with boiling rather than room temperature water allows the starches in the flour to absorb it more quickly and completely, resulting in a well-hydrated dough that is easy to work with and doesn't dry out when cooked. Curtido is a traditional accompaniment to pupusas. Instead of fermenting the cabbage, we marinate thin slices of it, along with chiles, in a fruity cider vinegar–based pickling liquid. Waiting to add the cilantro until after draining the liquid ensures that the herb is vibrant and fresh for serving.

Printable Shopping Lists: Cheese Pupusas and Curtido

Equipment Review Food Processors

Our longtime favorite is powerful and easy to use, but is it still the best choice?

Dinner 2: Pan-Seared Strip Steaks and Oven Fries

For fast, mess-free Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, we start cooking the steaks in a “cold” (not preheated) nonstick skillet over high heat and flip them every 2 minutes; that way, the meat's temperature increases gradually, allowing a crust to build up on the outside without overcooking the interior. For Oven Fries, we coat the potatoes in a cornstarch slurry that crisps up like a deep-fried fry would. We arrange the coated planks on a rimmed baking sheet that we coat with both vegetable oil spray and vegetable oil; the former contains a surfactant called lecithin, which prevents the oil from pooling and, in turn, prevents the potatoes from sticking. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Strip Steaks and Oven Fries

Equipment Review Carving Boards

Clever features on new carving boards promise easier carving and serving. But does clever always mean useful?

Dinner 3: Italian Sausage with Grapes and Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Italian Sausage with Grapes and Balsamic Vinegar is a great example of the affinity that pork and fruit have for each other. Taking inspiration from a potsticker cooking method, we use a combination of sautéing and steaming to produce sausages that are nicely browned while still moist and juicy. For the sauce, we cook down seedless red grapes and thinly sliced onion until caramelized to create a sweet, complex base. White wine, in addition to balsamic vinegar, lends the dish acidity and complements the grapes. Oregano and pepper contribute earthiness and a touch of spice, while a finish of fresh mint adds brightness. For our Creamy Parmesan Polenta, we use coarse-ground, degerminated cornmeal, which provides a soft but hearty texture and nutty flavor. A pinch of baking soda cuts the cooking time in half and eliminates the need for stirring.

Printable Shopping Lists: Italian Sausage with Grapes and Creamy Parmesan Polenta


View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

0 Comments
Read & post comments with a free account
Join the conversation with our community of home cooks, test cooks, and editors.
First Name is Required
Last Name is Required
Email Address is Required
How we use your email?
Password is Required
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

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.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

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!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

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.