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Cook's Illustrated

Cook's Illustrated September/October 2019

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At Cook's Illustrated, our test cooks are dedicated to testing and retesting recipes 20, 30, sometimes 50 times until we come up with a recipe that will come out right the first time -- and every time -- you make it. And each issue of Cook's Illustrated is 100% ADVERTISING FREE, so you get unbiased and objective information on every page. As we like to say at Cook's Illustrated, "We make the mistakes so you don't have to."

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United States
Boston Common Press, LP
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: JOY40
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
frank and the fire truck

When I was a kid, my parents installed one of those fancy smoke alarm systems in our house. It was the kind where if you accidentally forgot you were roasting a chicken and filled the kitchen with smoke, the fire department would magically appear at your front door. One cold September morning after the system was installed, my dad started up his car in the garage and then ran back into the house to grab his coffee. A wisp of exhaust clung to his coat and set off the alarms, and before we knew it a fire truck was tearing up the front lawn. After the alarm system was reset and the cats reemerged from their hiding spots, my uncle Frank happened to stop by for a visit on his…

3 min.
quick tips

Nonstick Steamer Basket Sue Kelman of Waltham, Mass., prevents food from sticking to her bamboo steamer basket by lining it with a small coffee filter. The porous paper lets steam through and makes cleanup easy. How to Evenly Divide Cake Batter When making a two-layer cake, Pat Wood of Broomfield, Colo., uses a toothpick to ensure that she’s divided the batter evenly between the pans. She pours approximately half the batter into each pan, sticks a toothpick in the middle of one pan to mark the batter’s height, uses the other end of the toothpick to mark the height of the batter in the second pan, and spoons batter into the emptier pan as necessary. A Tool for Making Thumbprint Cookies Margaret Lynch of Sebastopol, Calif., uses a wine stopper to make uniform indentations in…

8 min.
the easiest fried chicken

I’ve never met a bite of fried chicken that I didn’t like, but my favorite is the first bite of a fried chicken thigh. The crunch is big because thighs are thin and tapered, so there’s a high ratio of crispy crust to chicken. And when you bite through that crust, you’re met with juicy, rich dark meat. Happily for me, a Japanese style of fried chicken called karaage not only traditionally uses chicken thighs but also happens to be very easy to prepare. To make it, you debone bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; cut the meat into small chunks; marinate them in a soy-and-sake-based mixture that’s seasoned with garlic, ginger, and sometimes salt or sugar; dredge them in potato starch; and fry them until they’re brown and crispy. Because the pieces…

7 min.
pork chile verde

Before I delve into the specifics of my recipe for chile verde con cerdo, the classic Mexican stew of pork simmered in a tangy tomatillo and green chile sauce, I have a secret to share: When it comes to braising meat, all recipes work more or less the same way. Of course, I’m not talking about specific ingredients. American pot roast, daube Provençal, and pork vindaloo are made with completely different seasonings and taste nothing alike. But if you look closely at how each dish is put together, the processes have the same basic approach: Brown the meat to build a flavorful fond, add a modest amount of liquid, cover the pot, and simmer it all gently until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced to a concentrated, deeply…

1 min.
a smarter way to braise

Braising meat in a stew such as our Green Chili with Pork (Chile Verde con Cerdo) is simple: You build up flavorful browning and then slowly simmer the meat in a covered pot until it’s tender and the modest amount of braising liquid reduces to a flavorful sauce. Our updated approach still incorporates those key elements, but we’ve rethought every step to maximize flavor and efficiency. SALT MEAT Salting for 1 hour seasons the meat and keeps it moist during cooking. BROWN TRIMMINGS, NOT MEAT Searing the trimmings creates savory flavor while allowing the unbrowned stew meat (added later) to stay juicy. ADD MINIMAL LIQUID, THEN MEAT Less liquid makes for a tighter, more concentrated sauce, which takes on the meat’s savory depth during braising. BRAISE IN OVEN, NOT ON STOVE The oven’s ambient heat cooks the stew…

8 min.
shaking beef

Shaking beef, or bò lúc lac, is a Vietnamese dish of stir-fried cubes of marinated beef and sliced onions served over a bed of watercress and accompanied by a dipping sauce of lime juice and pepper. The dish gets its name from the vigorous shaking and stirring required to achieve an even and thorough sear. The beef—well browned but still pink on the inside—is coated in a deeply savory glaze that also flavors and lightly wilts the watercress below it. It’s a study in contrasts: the warmth of the beef against the cool crunch of the watercress, its savory meatiness against the peppery bite of the cress and the tartness of the dipping sauce, not to mention the garlicky, tomato-rich “red rice” that is a common accompaniment. The cut of beef varies…