From the beef stew, Scampi prawns to Mapo Tofu, 14 classic recipes

From the beef stew, Scampi prawns to Mapo Tofu, 14 classic recipes

We all have one – a dish we do not need a recipe for. Cooking, cooking and serving has become a different nature, like a dance you have danced a million times before. When you whip it together from memory on a busy weekday or on a vacation rental, it makes you feel a little accomplished, as if you’ve figured it all out. (Even if it’s just for the brief glowing moment.) The collection of recipes below, which is by no means a definitive list, includes those that you might want to work on remembering next time. They are back pocket dishes that will never make you wrong.

This typical Molly O’Neill stew was first published in the Times in 1994, and is still a popular reader favorite in the cool months of the year. You can not go wrong with it as it is, but do not hesitate to experiment with using different root vegetables, herbs and spices, or add a little tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar to bring things to life.

There is nothing as satisfying as whipping your own crispy, tender naan up to dip in a bowl of homemade valley or curry. This one, which Sam Sifton adapted from Meera Sodha, the British cookbook author, is quite simple and infinitely satisfying. “Once you’ve made the recipe two or three times, you’ll never buy naan again,” he writes.

Recipe: Meera Sodhas Naan

Superbly served with crispy bread or a tangle of buttery noodles, Melissa Clark’s recipe is better than anything else you can get at a fish restaurant chain. The key is not to overcook the prawns. You want them pink all over, but not curled too tight with, as Melissa says, “the cover texture.”

Recipe: Classic Shrimp Scampi

Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines, where chicken, pork or fish are braised in a salty, sweet and sour mixture of rice vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, chili and lots of black pepper (and sometimes coconut milk, included here). Sam Sifton adapted this version from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, who run the Purple Yam restaurant in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. That’s outrageously good.

This four-ingredient sauce from Marcella Hazan has its opponents, but it is a true achievement of practical magic. Combine a stick of butter, a can of tomatoes, a peeled and halved onion and a pinch of salt, let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the tomatoes are folded into a silky soft sauce. Serve over noodles, or use it as the base of a comforting baked pasta.

Recipe: Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce

Although traditionally a Persian New Year dish, sabzi polo with tahdig or herb ice cream with a crispy crust is a good accompaniment to any roasted or grilled vegetable, meat or fish. There are a few steps, but they are all pretty simple and the results are wildly impressive. You will have to gather your courage for you to turn the cooked rice cake on a platter, but most good things do not require a leap of faith?

Recipe: Sabzi Polo (herb ice cream with Tahdig)

Dreamy with big D, Millie Peartree’s southern macaroni and cheese is wonderfully rich thanks to a milk-and-egg base. Extra sharp Cheddar adds spice, and a layer of Colby Jack creates a sticky center. Make this your fall potluck go-to.

Recipe: Southern macaroni and cheese

Doubanjiang (spicy bean sauce), Sichuan peppercorns and fermented black beans make this mapo tofu from Andrea Nguyen delightfully spicy and umami-rich. (These ingredients are easy to find in Chinese markets or online, and last forever.) It is traditionally made with minced beef, but you can also use lamb, turkey or plant-based “meat”. Serve over rice with something light and green.

Recipe: Mapo Tofu

Arroz con pollo, found throughout Latin America in many different varieties, is a true comfort food suitable for improvisation. This version from Von Diaz requires boned chicken thighs. The boneless works too, but skip the boneless chicken breast because they do not have enough fat or flavor to carry the spices in the dish. To save time, instead of making your own sofrito, there is no shame in buying it in the freezer compartment.

Recipe: Chicken rice

Meatballs are always a good idea, but they can skew dry, and pan frying can be a messy endeavor. Kay Chun uses ricotta for an extremely tender and moist meatball, and then bakes them for a low cumbersome alternative. Try to underbake them a bit and finish cooking them in a pan with sauce for flavor that carries all the way through the meatball. This recipe requires pork, but also works well with beef or a combination.

Recipe: Pork and Ricotta Meatballs

Truth: Once you’ve tried this recipe from chef Judy Rodgers, you’ll never fry a chicken any other way again. It requires the bird to be dried in the refrigerator one to three days in advance, but if you do not have time for it (who has it?), An hour or two, or even just the time it takes to heat the oven. , will do. The key to tastefully crispy skin and meat falling apart is to get your forehead super hot and use plenty of salt to season the bird.

For impossibly soft and dense brownies, Alice encourages Medrich to bake them over high heat and then toss the pan in an ice-water bath so that the dough collapses and concentrates for a truffle-like delight. A word of warning: Do not use a glass pan. It can splinter when it hits the ice water.

Recipe: New classic brownies

Mark Bittman’s pancake recipe is just the way it should be: simple and foolproof, which means pancakes do not have to be a weekend-only affair. Try using different flours or add fruit or chocolate chips to the dough. If you have leftovers, separate them with layers of baking paper and freeze in a resealable bag or airtight container, then heat individual pancakes in a toaster.

Recipe: Everyday pancakes

Well, duh. Everyone needs a good chicken soup in their arsenal and Julia Moskins fits the bill. Use the best poultry you can find, and here’s a smart reader tip: “If you’re planning leftovers, do not boil the noodles in the soup. Boil them separately and add them to individual bowls. Also, store leftover noodles separately. It prevents them from getting too soft. “

Recipe: Chicken soup from scratch

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