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Volume 96

Dinner This Week: Cumin Beef

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Stir-Fried Cumin Beef, Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, and Pan-Seared Salmon 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: Stir-Fried Cumin Beef and Steamed White Rice

Stir-Fried Cumin Beef features tender pieces of meat stir-fried with onions and aromatics, lightly glossed in a soy sauce–based glaze, seasoned with spices, and finished with cilantro. We treat beef flank steak with baking soda, which raises the meat's pH so that it stays moist and tender during cooking. To prevent the meat from overcooking before it browns, we stir-fry it in two batches until its juices are reduced to a sticky fond that coats each slice. Steamed White Rice is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and starting the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.

Printable Shopping Lists: Stir-Fried Cumin Beef and Steamed White Rice

Equipment Review Woks

After years of preferring nonstick skillets to woks for making stir-fries, we decided to take a fresh look at this traditional pan.

Dinner 2: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Caesar Salad

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage is a hearty, subtly spicy pasta dish that might be the most identifiable dish of Italy's Puglia region. Rich Italian sausage mingles well with the bitterness of broccoli rabe and salty Pecorino Romano cheese. For heady— but not overpowering—garlic flavor in our Caesar Salad, we use a rasp-style grater to turn garlic cloves to a paste and then steep the paste in lemon juice to temper its bite. To emulsify the dressing, we beat egg yolks, anchovies, and Worcestershire sauce into the lemon juice and garlic and then slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. For tender-crisp croutons, we sprinkle cubes of ciabatta bread with a little water to preserve their moistness even after they are toasted.

Printable Shopping Lists: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Caesar Salad

Equipment Review Paring Knives

For precision cuts, call on the (cheap) little guy.

Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Salmon and Chopped Carrot Salad

For our Pan-Seared Salmon, we brine the fillets to season them and keep them moist as they cook. We then place the fish skin side down in a cold, dry, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The skin protects the fish from drying out during cooking and releases fat that helps to brown and crisp the flesh side once the fillets are flipped. Chopped Carrot Salad with Celery and Raisins starts by finely chopping carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. This produces a delicately crunchy, light-textured base in just seconds. Crisp celery, sweet raisins, and plenty of parsley brighten things up and a lively dressing brings the salad together.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Salmon and Chopped Carrot Salad


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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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.