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Volume 120

Dinner This Week: Shakshuka

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Eggs in Spicy Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Shakshuka), Shepherd's Pie, and Simple Broiled Chicken Thighs 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: Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Warm Bitter Green Salad

The North African dish Shakshuka makes a great meal any time—if you can get the eggs to cook properly. For eggs with runny yolks and tender whites, we add the eggs to the skillet off the heat, cook them in a smooth rather than chunky sauce for more even heat transfer, and cover the whites with sauce just after adding them to the pan to help speed their cooking. For the sauce, we blend whole peeled tomatoes and jarred roasted red peppers for a mix of sweetness, smokiness, and acidity. Bitter Greens, Carrot, and Chickpea Salad with Warm Lemon Dressing begins with a preheated Dutch oven to provide just the right amount of heat to wilt hearty bitter greens without actually cooking them. We start by sautéing carrots, raisins, and almonds in the pot and then pull the pot off the heat to let it cool slightly. When we add the greens, the warm mix-ins slightly soften the greens. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Warm Bitter Greens Salad

Equipment Review Silicone Spatulas

A spatula should feel like an extension of your arm, nimbly stirring, scraping, and folding any food you put in its path. Why is a good one so hard to find?

Dinner 2: Shepherd’s Pie and Bibb and Frisée Salad

Our streamlined, skillet version of Shepherd’s Pie starts with lean ground beef rather than chunks of meat. To keep the beef tender, we treat it with baking soda, which raises its pH and keeps the proteins from bonding too tightly. To boost the flavor of the gravy, we sauté onions, mushrooms, and tomato paste in the skillet until quite dark, and then deglaze the pan with Madeira. Our Bibb and Frisée Salad with Grapes and Celery uses a combination of frilly, crunchy frisée and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of celery incorporate easily with the greens. Seedless red grapes add pops of juiciness and freshness, while blue cheese adds salty richness.

Printable Shopping ListsShepherd’s Pie and Bibb and Frisée Salad

Equipment Review The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets of 2021

A rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Dinner 3: Broiled Chicken Thighs and Warm Farro

For moist, well-seasoned Simple Broiled Chicken Thighs, we brine the thighs for better flavor and texture. Slashing the skin a few times before broiling allows its fat to render, and cooking the chicken on the bottom rack of the oven keeps it moist and tender. Warm Farro with Cranberries, Pecans, and Herbs uses whole farro, in which the grain’s germ and bran have been retained, giving it a pleasant chewiness and a nutty flavor. After the grains are boiled and drained, we combine them with sautéed onions, tart dried cranberries, and fresh parsley. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Broiled Chicken Thighs and Warm Farro


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.