Sheet Pan Sausage and Butternut Squash

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 pound spicy sausage (fresh chorizo, Italian, Andouille or otherwise)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as desired
Flaky salt, as desired

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and stick a large baking sheet in the oven. Prep the squash and sausage: Cut the squash into ½-inch-thick slices, then cut the slices crosswise in half. Transfer to a large bowl. Score the sausages in a few places on both sides, making sure not to cut all the way through. Transfer to the bowl with the squash, then stir to coat with the olive oil and fat pinches of salt and pepper.

When the oven comes to temperature, carefully dump the squash and sausage mixture onto the hot baking sheet and spread it out into a single layer. Roast, stirring every so often to coat the squash in the rendered fat, until the squash is tender and sausages are crisp and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. (To add some color, put them under the broiler for a minute or two.) Let cool slightly while you prepare the parsley.

In a small bowl, mix together the parsley and lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the sausage diagonally in thirds. Serve the sausage and squash on a platter with a pile of parsley on top and sprinkled with an extra squeeze of lemon and flaky salt, if desired.

Tip
The squash and sausage can be roasted 3 days in advance. Reheat in a low oven before serving.

Feel free to switch up the squash for carrots, broccoli, potatoes: Any vegetables that are good roasted will work well in that liquid gold. If the meal seems light, bulk it up by topping with a cup of feta or rinsed canned chickpeas, adding arugula or watercress to the parsley, or serving it all on a bed of kale or mustard greens, like a warm salad.

Heirloom Beans and Cream

2 cups mixed dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
Flaky sea salt
Olive oil (for serving)

Bring beans, stock, and thyme sprigs to a gentle simmer in a medium pot over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, skimming any foam from surface, until beans are tender, 1–1 1/2 hours, depending on types. Discard thyme. Season with kosher salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes.

Return to a simmer; stir in cream. Season with more kosher salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with thyme leaves and sea salt and drizzled with oil.

Do Ahead: Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

New Mexico Hot Dish

1 pound ground beef
Flour
Salt
Chopped onion
Chopped garlic
Chopped jalapeno
Chili powder
Ground cumin
Oregano
Chopped tomatoes
Corn tortillas
Grated American and cheddar cheese
Raw onions, sour cream, and salsa for serving

First, sauté a pound or so of ground beef in a splash of oil, with a little flour and a pinch of salt, then set it aside.

Use the same pan to cook chopped onion, garlic and jalapeño.

Return the meat to the pan, and hit it with chile powder, ground cumin and oregano, to taste. Add chopped tomatoes and a little water to loosen everything up. Let it reduce a little.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425, and grab a casserole dish. You’ll need corn tortillas as well, and grated cheese mixture of Cheddar and American.

Put a little chili in the bottom of the casserole, warm tortillas in a dry skillet and lay them across the chili as if building the first layer of a lasagna.

Do that again and again, and finish with the remaining chili and cheese.

Bake in the oven until everything’s bubbling.

Serve with chopped raw onions, sour cream and salsa on the side.

Chicken Tacos with Cabbage and Cilantro Cream

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), halved, cored and finely shredded
2 pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small rotisserie chicken, meat shredded, skin and bones discarded
Warm corn tortillas, for serving

In a blender, puree the cilantro with the sour cream, lime juice and olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the red cabbage with the jalapeños, scallions and the cilantro dressing. Let stand for 15 minutes, until the cabbage just begins to wilt. Add the chicken and toss until it is coated with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm corn tortillas.

Sloppy Joes

Chopped onions
Diced celery
Diced jalapeno
Diced red pepper
Minced garlic
Half pound ground beef
Tomato paste
Pureed canned tomatoes
Worcestershire sauce
Potato buns

Put a Dutch oven over medium-high heat on your stove, then add a glug of olive oil and sauté in it a handful of chopped onions, a couple diced ribs of celery, a diced jalapeño and a small diced red pepper.

When the mixture is supersoft, add a few cloves of minced garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, then dump a pound and a half of ground beef into the pot — ideally the sort that is 20 percent fat — and stir and sizzle until it is well browned, about 10 minutes.

Bring the heat down a bit and add a lot of tomato paste — say 3 tablespoons, maybe 4 — and let it get a little toasty before adding a cup or more of puréed canned tomatoes. Cook that down for a few minutes, then add quite a few glugs of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste, and continue cooking until the mixture is quite thick, another 15 or 20 minutes.

Season to taste and serve on toasted potato buns.

Pork Chops with Pipian

FOR THE PORK CHOPS
4 medium-thick pork chops, bone-in or boneless
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons neutral oil

FOR THE PIPIAN SAUCE
8 chiles de árbol
3 plum tomatoes
1 small onion, peeled and thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 cup raw, hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
1/3 cup hulled sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (or 2 allspice berries)
1 canned chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons neutral oil, lard or chicken fat
1 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Make the sauce: Remove the stems from the chiles de árbol, and gently roll the chiles between your fingers to remove the seeds. Discard seeds. Set a bare skillet over high heat for 5 minutes, then add the chiles. Toast until they are darkened and fragrant, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Place them in a bowl, cover with 2 cups boiling or very hot water, and set aside to soak.

Return the skillet to high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic, and cook, turning occasionally, until charred, approximately 10 minutes. Put the vegetables on a plate, and set aside to cool, then slip the skins off the cloves of garlic.

Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Place the pumpkin seeds, peanuts and sesame seeds in the skillet, and cook, stirring and shaking the pan continuously, until they are toasted and fragrant, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Put the seeds and nuts in a bowl, and stir in the cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Put the chiles and soaking liquid in a blender with the tomatoes, onion, garlic, the nut-seed mixture and the chipotle. Purée until smooth.

Add the oil, lard or chicken fat to a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and heat over medium heat until it is nearly smoking. Add the purée. It will sputter a lot. Lower the heat, and stir, cooking the mixture down to a thick paste. It will continue to sputter and pop. Add the broth to the paste, and stir, then season with the salt, sugar and vinegar, and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until it resembles a thick, creamy soup. Lower heat to a bare simmer.

Make the pork chops: Season the pork chops aggressively with salt and pepper, and dust them with the flour. Add the oil to the skillet, and heat over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the chops, and let them cook undisturbed, in batches if necessary, until crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Set them aside to rest for 5 minutes or so. Serve a chop per person on a generous amount of sauce, with tortillas to mop it up. Extra sauce can be used to braise chicken, lamb or more pork, or as a topping for enchiladas

Classic Beefaroni

1 pound elbow macaroni or other tubular pasta, such as cavatappi
Kosher salt
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large green pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley leaves
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, plus more for serving
1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound low moisture whole milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 ounces roughly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Place macaroni in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Season generously with salt. Let rest, stirring twice during the first ten minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients.

Using a hand blender directly in the tomato jar or a regular countertop blender, process tomatoes until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a 5 quart straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, swirling, until better is mostly melted. Add onions and peppers, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and half of parsley, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Clear a space in the center of the pan and add meat. Increase heat to high. Cook, breaking it up first with a wooden spoon, then with a potato masher, until broken into small pieces. Continue cooking until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Drain noodles in a large colander set in the sink. Add to pot with beef. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken stock and stir, folding noodles through the sauce until noodles and sauce are well-integrated. Cover and cook at a hard simmer until noodles are mostly cooked, about half of cook-time indicated on box.

Remove lid and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add half of cubed mozzarella and stir to incorporate rapidly (do not overstir or the mixture will stretch and stick to your spoon). Spread remaining mozzarella over surface of dish. Sprinkle half of Parmesan over dish. Cover and cook over the lowest possible heat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest with cover on for 5 minutes.

Uncover, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and herbs and serve immediately, passing extra Worcestershire sauce at the table.

Chipotle-Maple Sweet Potato Mash

4 large sweet potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
1 cup milk
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wash sweet potatoes and fork prick all sides. Microwave until cooked through. Once cooled enough, remove the skins. Then put the cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

In a food processor or using an immersion blender (my choice) pulse the milk and chipotle together. In a saucepan bring the milk and chipotle mixture to a simmer on low. Then add the maple syrup, sour cream, butter, and salt and pepper to the milk mixture.

Pour the milk mixture over the cooked sweet potatoes and again use the immersion blender or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

Roasted Winter Squash with Yogurt and Pistachios

1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), preferably kabocha, red kuri or acorn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 to 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Using a large, sharp knife, stab the squash in the middle and carefully work the knife down to cut the squash in half, going through the stem. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, and discard or reserve for another use. Cut the squash halves into 1 1/2-inch wedges, leaving the peel on.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the squash with the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, until the squash is very tender and golden brown with caramelized bits.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter has browned and started to foam, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pistachios, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, taste, and add more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Spread the yogurt sauce over a large serving platter or bowl. Arrange the squash on the sauce and spoon the buttered pistachios over everything. Sprinkle with another pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Maple Syrup

3 pounds kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
6 thyme sprigs, plus thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, olive oil, ginger, thyme sprigs and salt. Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the squash to a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash

One 3-pound butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, cumin, coriander and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, until tender and lightly browned, tossing once halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Butternut Squash and Fusilli with Hazelnut Oil

One 2-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces ?(6 cups)?
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar?
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil?
1 tablespoon honey?
Kosher salt
Pepper?
3/4 pound whole-wheat fusilli?
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unrefined hazelnut oil?
1 head of Treviso or 1/2 a small head of radicchio, thinly sliced?
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves?
Shaved Pecorino Tuscano or Romano, for serving?

Preheat the oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 1/4 cup of the vinegar, the olive oil and honey and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about ?35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned and glazed.?

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining ?2 tablespoons each of vinegar and hazelnut oil. Stir in the squash, Treviso and parsley, then fold in the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with shaved pecorino.

The pasta salad can be refrigerated overnight. Stir in the Treviso and parsely before serving.?

Carne Adovada

3 ounces New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
3 ounces guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
4 cups boiling water, plus 1 cup water
5 pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1½-inch cubes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lard or grapeseed oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons cumin seed
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon molasses
Lime wedges, to serve
Sour cream, to serve
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve

Place the chilies in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chilies have softened, about 30 minutes. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the remaining chilies and water and blend until smooth, scraping down the blender as needed. Measure ½ cup of the chili puree into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. Pour the remaining puree into a medium bowl and set aside; do not scrape out the blender jar. Pour ½ cup of the remaining water into the blender, cover tightly and shake to release all of the puree

Place the pork in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the chili-water mixture in the blender. Stir to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the lard until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano and cayenne, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ½ cup water and the chili puree. Add the pork and any liquid in the bowl. Stir to combine, then cover the pot, place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover, stir and return, uncovered, to the oven. Continue to cook until the pork is tender, another 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and set on the stove over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved ½ cup chili puree and the molasses. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream and cilantro leaves.

Tip: Don’t use just one type of dried chili. New Mexico chilies provide a mild earthiness and subtle sweetness, while guajillos add a fruity quality and hints of smoke; the combination gives this stew a deep, complex flavor. Make sure to seed the chilies, as the seeds won’t break down in the blender and may add unwanted spiciness. Also, don’t use blackstrap molasses, which has a very potent bittersweet flavor.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (1 3/4 pounds), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
8 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/4 cup parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes and garlic cloves with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in an even layer, cut sides down. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped thyme.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned on the bottom and very crisp.

Peel the garlic cloves. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a platter, sprinkle with the parsley leaves and serve.

Lemon-Salt Roasted Potatoes

2 large sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a mini food processor, pulse the sage, rosemary and thyme until finely chopped. Add the lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the salt and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the herb salt to a small bowl.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and butter and season with pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 25 minutes. Season the potatoes generously with the herb salt, toss well and continue baking for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot or warm.

Basic Lentils (or Beans) with Sautéed Onions

Basic Recipe:
Cook 1 pound of beans or lentils in water with a bay leaf. (If you’re cooking lentils, add one peeled, cubed potato to the pot.) Add salt when they begin to soften.

Thinly slice an entire yellow onion and saute over low heat in lots of olive oil until soft and reduced, about 20 minutes. You can also cut in some butter if you like. A clove of garlic would be welcome, too.

Just before serving, add an herb or spice (or a spice mix) to the cooked onions.

Gently add the onion mix to the beans or lentils, and cook for 5 minutes, then transfer to a dish and serve. Not making this a one-pot meal means the flavors stay sharp and distinct.

Variations/Specialties

Lentils with Spiced Onions
Follow the cooking instructions above. Lentils cook in about 20 minutes, unsoaked. A cubed potato will cook in about the same time and potatoes add some body to a pot of lentils. To the onions, add a spoonful of the Moroccan spice blend Ras al Hanout.

Royal Coronas with Onions and Sage

Follow the cooking instructions above. Instead of Ras al Hanout, chop two sprigs of fresh sage and add it to the onions. For a pound, the two sprigs were perfect. It was a lot of sage, but a pound of beans makes over six cups. I think too much sage would ruin things, but you do want the flavor.

Hatch Chili Cornbread

4 long green chiles, such as Hatch or Anaheim
1/4 cup bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups finely ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk

Roast the chiles under the broiler until blackened on both sides, about 10-12 minutes, turning once. Once blackened, place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. After the chiles have steamed, remove from the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds from both the chiles and chop. You should have about 1 cup.

Preheat oven to 450° F. While the oven is heating, put the bacon grease or oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven while the oven preheats.

Meanwhile, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Take the cast iron skillet out of then oven, and pour the hot oil into the batter and stir until well combined. Add the Hatch green chiles to the batter and gently stir until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter back into the hot skillet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and an inserted knifes comes out clean. Serve warm.

Seared Skirt Steak With Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Polenta

1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons), divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup coarse-ground polenta (corn meal)
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 quart cherry tomatoes
2 small red chilies such as Fresno or Thai bird, thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Chopped chives, scallion greens, or parsley, for garnish

Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Rub with 2 minced cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until butter is foaming. Add 2 minced cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is completely tender and creamy, about 40 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep it loose.

When polenta is fully cooked, stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add steak in a single layer and cook, turning frequently, until well browned on both sides and center of steak registers 110°F for medium-rare or 115°F for medium, 6 to 8 minutes total. 1 minute before steak is done, add tomatoes to pan. Remove steaks and set aside. Add chilies, scallions, and remaining 2 minced cloves garlic to pan. Add 1/4 cup water and scrape up browned bits. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tomatoes burst and release their juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce off heat, adding water as necessary to reach a creamy sauce-like consistency.

To serve, transfer polenta to a pre-heated plate. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Transfer to polenta, top with blistered tomatoes and pan sauce, sprinkle with herbs, and serve.

Pica Pau (Portuguese Steak with Olives and Pickled Onions)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 12- to 14-ounce beef strip steaks, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat and gristle, patted dry
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
3/4 cup dry white wine
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Piri-piri oil, to serve (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Season both sides of each steak with the mixture, rubbing it into the meat. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, olives, vinegar and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let the steaks and onion mixture stand for 30 minutes, stirring the onion mixture once halfway through.

In a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the steaks and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until well browned on the second sides and the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare), another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Pour off and discard the fat from the skillet, then wipe out the pan. Set over medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and chili. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and bay, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the butter until melted.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Cut each steak lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the parsley and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Drain off and discard the liquid from the onion mixture and transfer to a platter. Pour the steak mixture over the onions, then drizzle with piri-piri oil, if using.

Note: The dish, eaten with toothpicks, is served as as appetizer or small plate with crusty bread and cold beer as accompaniments. Pickled cauliflower and carrots are often, but not always, included. The bed of vinegar-marinated red onions and olives balance the beef’s richness.