Skip to main content
Dinner This Week

Dinner This Week: Pupusas

This week’s menus include Pupusas, Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, and Italian Sausage with Grapes and Balsamic Vinegar for dinner in about an hour.
By Published Aug. 28, 2020

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.

Jump to a Section

Dinner 1: Cheese Pupusas with Curtido

Game Plan: Start by making the curtido. While it rests, prepare and cook the pupusas.

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

Dinner 2: Pan-Seared Strip Steaks and Oven Fries

Game Plan: Start by prepping and roasting the potatoes. Pan-sear the steaks after removing the foil from the potatoes.

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

Dinner 3: Italian Sausage with Grapes and Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Game Plan: For this pairing, start with the polenta. Once the cornmeal has been added to the water and the heat reduced, begin the sausage recipe. By the time the polenta is fully cooked, the sausages should be ready to serve. If the sausages are done early, they can be held in the skillet, covered, and rewarmed before serving.

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.

0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
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.