Basic Crepes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (10 fluid ounces; 280ml)
1 cup flour (5 ounces; 140g)
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (1/2 ounce; 15ml), plus more for cooking
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon (8g) sugar, if making sweet crepes
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chervil, or chives (optional; for savory crepes)

For the Batter: Combine eggs, milk, flour, melted butter or oil, salt, and sugar (if using) in a blender. Start blender on low speed and increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add herbs (if using) and pulse to combine. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.)

To Cook: Heat a 10-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lightly grease with oil or butter, using a paper towel to wipe out the excess.

Hold the pan’s handle in one hand and pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60ml) batter, swirling and tilting pan immediately to spread batter in a thin, even layer over bottom of pan.

Let cook until top looks dry, about 20 seconds. Using a thin metal or nylon spatula, lift one edge of crepe. Grab that edge with the fingers of both hands and flip crepe. Cook on second side for 10 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill crepes as desired (such as with butter, sugar, and lemon juice; with butter and jam; with ham, cheese, and eggs; or with spinach and feta) and serve. Crepes can also be made ahead and stored, unfilled and wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a nonstick pan to serve.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

4 1/2 pounds (2kg) mixed chicken parts, such as wings, backs, bones, and feet
1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (about 2 large; 680g), diced
12 ounces carrots (about 2 large; 340g), diced
8 ounces celery (about 6 medium ribs; 225g), diced
4 medium cloves garlic
4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker and cover with cold water, about 2 quarts (1.9L). Make sure not to let liquid exceed the cooker’s max fill line; it’s okay if a few things poke above the water’s surface.

Close cooker and bring to high pressure, then cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow cooker to depressurize, either by allowing it to cool to room temperature (for the clearest stock) or by using the pressure release valve on the cooker to rapidly vent steam. (Using the release valve will cause the stock to boil, which may result in some loss of clarity; this should not be an issue unless you’re serving it as consommé or in another preparation that requires the broth to be crystal-clear.) If you have a stovetop cooker, you can also depressurize it by running it under cold water in the sink; do not do this with an electric cooker.

Skim fat from stock, strain, then use as desired or freeze for up to 6 months.

Tonkatsu or Chicken Katsu

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces (225g) each or 4 boneless pork sirloin cutlets, 4 to 5 ounces (110 to 140g) each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 5 ounces; 140g)
3 large eggs, thoroughly beaten
1 1/2 cups Japanese-style panko bread crumbs (about 5 ounces; 140g)
Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, for frying

To Serve:
Finely shredded green cabbage
Lemon wedges
Steamed white rice
Japanese-style pickles (sunomono), optional
Homemade or store-bought tonkatsu sauce

If Using Chicken Breasts: Cut each breast half into 2 cutlets. Place them, one at a time, in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag and pound gently to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy 8-inch skillet. (See this guide for step-by-step directions.) Season generously with salt and pepper. For best results, let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight after seasoning. Proceed to step 3.

If Using Thighs or Pork Cutlets: Place thighs or cutlets, one at a time, in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag and pound gently to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy 8-inch skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Proceed immediately to step 3.

Fill 3 wide, shallow bowls or high-rimmed plates with flour, beaten eggs, and panko, respectively. Working with one thigh or cutlet at a time, dredge in flour with your first hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn thigh or cutlet with your second hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drain off, then transfer to bread crumb mixture. With your first hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of thigh or cutlet, then gently press, turning to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer thigh or cutlet to a clean plate and repeat with remaining meat. If this is done properly, your first hand should touch only dry ingredients, while your second hand should touch only wet, making the process less messy.

Fill a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet with 1/3 inch oil. (To speed things up even more, use 2 skillets simultaneously.) Heat over high heat until shimmering and just shy of smoking, about 350°F (175°C) on an instant-read thermometer.

Using tongs or your fingers, gently lower cutlets into hot fat, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. (Work in batches if necessary.) Fry, gently swirling pan and rotating cutlets for even browning, and adjusting heat as necessary for a steady, vigorous bubble (around 300 to 325°F; 150 to 160°C), until bottom side is set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until other side is set, about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Continue cooking, swirling frequently and flipping occasionally, until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away. Repeat with remaining cutlets.

Slice katsu into thin strips and serve immediately with shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, white rice, Japanese pickles (if desired), and tonkatsu sauce.

Pressure Cooker Ragu Bolognese

1 cup (225 milliliters) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
4 packets powdered gelatin (1 ounce/30 grams)
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound (225 grams) finely diced pancetta
1 large onion, finely minced (about 1 1/2 cups/300 grams)
2 large carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup/200 grams)
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup/200 grams)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons/15 grams)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced (about 1/4 ounce/8 grams)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1/2 ounce/15 grams), divided
1/2 pound (225 grams) finely minced chicken livers
2 pounds (900 grams) ground beef chuck (about 20% fat)
1 pound (450 grams) ground pork shoulder (about 20% fat)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (450 milliliters) dry red wine
1 (14-ounce/400-gram) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 1/2 cups (350 milliliters) heavy cream, divided
2 bay leaves
3 ounces (80 grams) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 milliliters) Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced (about 1/4 ounce/8 grams)
To Serve:
1 1/2 pounds (700 grams) pappardelle or tagliatelle, or 1 pound (450 grams) dried penne
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Place stock in a 1-cup liquid measure and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until pancetta is browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, and half of parsley and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.

Increase heat to high, add chicken livers, and cook, stirring, until livers are no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add beef and pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until excess liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle, about 25 minutes.

Add stock and gelatin mixture, wine, tomatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, and bay leaves. Seal and cook at high pressure (12 to 15 psi) for 30 minutes. Release pressure and remove lid. Simmer over moderate heat until thick and emulsified, 30 to 45 minutes longer.

Stir in remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream, Parmesan, fish sauce, basil, and remaining parsley. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bolognese can be cooled and stored in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Serve: Heat Bolognese in a large pot until just simmering. Set aside. Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Transfer to a large skillet or sauteuse and add 3/4 of sauce, along with cooking water. Cook over high heat, tossing and stirring gently, until sauce is thick and pasta is coated, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining sauce. Serve immediately, passing extra Parmesan at the table.

Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup

3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 6 ounces; 170g)
1 large rib celery, finely diced (about 4 ounces; 125g)
6 ounces (170g) ham steak, diced (see note above)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (450g) dried green split peas
6 cups (1.5L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, or water
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and ham and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Add peas, chicken stock or water, and bay leaves. Stir to combine, then cover pot and bring to high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes, then rapidly release pressure by opening the air valve. Open pot lid, stir contents until smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Carefully clean the pressure cooker’s gasket and valves as soon as the pot is cool enough to handle; pea soup can easily clog valves, which can cause your cooker to over-pressurize the next time you use it. Soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Pressure Cooker Pho Ga

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, split in half
1 small hand of ginger, roughly sliced
1 small bunch cilantro
3 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
6 to 8 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons rock sugar or raw sugar, plus more to taste

To Serve:
4 servings pho noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 cups mixed herbs (cilantro, basil, and mint)
2 cups trimmed bean sprouts
Thinly sliced Thai chilis
2 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
Hoisin sauce and Sriracha

Heat oil in a pressure cooker over high heat until smoking. Add halved onions and ginger, cut side down. Cook without moving, reducing heat if smoking excessively, until onion and ginger are well charred, about 5 minutes.

Add cilantro, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, coriander, and chicken to the pot. Add 2 quarts of water, the fish sauce, and the sugar to the pot. Seal the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then shock under cold running water in the sink (or release pressure valve if using an electric pressure cooker).

Open pressure cooker. Transfer chicken legs to a plate. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot and discard solids. Skim any scum off the surface of the broth using a ladle, but leave the small bubbles of fat intact. Season broth to taste with more fish sauce and sugar if desired.

To serve, place re-hydrated pho noodles in individual noodle bowls. Top with chicken legs, sliced onions, and scallions. Pour hot broth over chicken and noodles. Serve immediately, allowing guests to add herbs, bean sprouts, chilis, lime, and sauces as they wish.

White Chili with Chicken

1 pound dried small white (Navy) beans, Great Northern beans, or cannellini beans (see note above)
Kosher salt
2 fresh poblano chilies
4 fresh Anaheim or Hatch chilies
2 jalapeño chilies
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed, and split in halt from top to bottom
8 medium cloves garlic
1 whole pickled jalapeño pepper, plus 2 tablespoons pickling liquid from the can
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1 pound shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
4 to 6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Cover beans with 1 gallon (4 quarts) water. Add 1/4 cup salt and stir until dissolved. Cover and let rest at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 24. Drain and rinse beans.

Adjust broiler rack to 8 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place poblanos, Anaheims, jalapeños, onion, and garlic on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with one tablespoon oil using your hands to coat. Season with salt. Place under broiler and broil, turning peppers and rearranging vegetables occasionally, until peppers are blackened on all sides and skins are wrinkled all over, 15 to 20 minutes total. Gather up foil and form a sealed pouch. Let chilies rest for 5 minutes.

Place chilies and chicken stock in a large bowl. Peel chilies under the chicken stock, leaving skins and seeds behind. Transfer chili flesh to the cup of a hand blender or a standing blender. Add broiled onion, broiled garlic, and the canned jalapeño (do not add jalapeño pickling liquid). Blend until a smooth purée is formed. Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili purée and cook, stirring, until incorporated. Strain chicken stock into pot, pressing on skins and seeds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard skins and seeds.

Add soaked beans and chicken breasts to pot, adding water as necessary until beans and chicken are fully submerged. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken breasts register 150°F on an instant read thermometer, about 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken breasts to a bowl and let rest. Continue simmering broth and beans until beans are fully tender, about 1 hour total. Remove 1 1/2 cups of beans and their liquid and transfer to a standing blender or the work cup of an immersion blender. Blend until completely smooth. Stir back into pot.

Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir back into stew. Stir in half of cheese until melted. Stir in jalapeño pickling liquid, lime juice, and half of cilantro. Season to taste with salt.

Serve immediately with extra shredded cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, and scallions.

Chili Verde with Pork

3 pounds trimmed pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
5 poblano peppers
5 cubanelle peppers
2 pounds tomatillos (about 15 medium), husks removed
6 whole garlic cloves
2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed, split in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 quart chicken stock

In large bowl, toss pork with 2 tablespoons salt until thoroughly coated. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, roast poblano and cubanelle peppers by placing them directly over the flame of a gas stove until deeply charred on all surfaces, about 10 minutes total. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can achieve similar results under the broiler, or on an outdoor grill. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with a large plate. Let steam for 5 minutes, then peel under cool running water. Dry chilies, discard seeds and stems, and roughly chop. Transfer to bowl of food processor.

Preheat broiler to high. Toss tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Broil until charred, blistered, and just softened, turning once halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to the food processor along with any exuded liquid.

Add 1/2 of cilantro to the food processor and pulse mixture until it is roughly pureed but not smooth, about 8 to 10 one-second pulses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 225°F. Heat remaining oil in large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add half of pork and cook without moving until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides. Add remaining pork and onions and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chicken stock and pureed chilies to pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven, leaving lid slightly ajar. Cook until pork shreds easily with a fork, about 3 hours. Remove from oven and return to stovetop.

Skim off and discard any excess fat. Adjust to desired consistency by adding water or boiling and reducing. Stir remaining cilantro into pot and season to taste with more salt. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, diced onions, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges. Chili can be chilled and stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Flavor will improve with time.

Texas Chili Con Carne

3 whole sweet fresh dried chilies like Costeño, New Mexico, or Choricero, stems and seeds removed
2 small hot dried chilies like Arbol or Cascabel, stems and seeds removed
3 whole rich fruity dried chilies like Ancho, Mulatto, Negro, or Pasilla, stems and seeds removed
2 whole Chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce, plus 2 tablespoons sauce, stems and seeds removed
2 quarts low sodium canned or homemade chicken broth
4 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess gristle and fat, cut into thick steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons masa
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste
Cilantro, chopped onions, scallions, grated cheese, avocado, and warm tortillas for serving as desired

Add dried chiles to large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened with intense, roasted aroma, 2 to 5 minutes. Do not allow to smoke. Remove chiles to small bowl and set aside. Alternatively, place dried chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power in 15-second increments until pliable and toasted-smelling, about 30 seconds total. Transfer to a 2-quart microwave-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl. Add half of chicken broth and chipotle chilies, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high power until gently simmering, about 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer chilies and liquid to blender and blend, starting on the lowest possible setting and gradually increasing speed to high (make sure to hold the lid down with a clean kitchen towel or a potholder to prevent it from blowing out). Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

Season chuck steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in the base of a Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef chuck in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply browned, about 6 minutes. Flip steaks and brown second side, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer steaks to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut seared steaks and raw steaks into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks.

Return Dutch oven to heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add all meat back to pan along with chili puree and remaining quart chicken broth. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover, leaving lid just barely ajar and cook, stirring occasionally until meat is completely tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, stew can be cooked in a 200° to 250°F oven with the lid of the Dutch oven slightly ajar.

Stir in fish sauce, masa harina (if using), and vinegar. Add hot sauce to taste. Season to taste with salt. For best results, allow chili to cool and store in the refrigerator at least overnight and up to five days. Reheat the next day to serve.

Serve, garnished with cilantro, chopped onions, scallions, grated cheese, avocado, and warm tortillas as desired.

Warm Spanish Gigante Beans

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
2 stalks celery, peeled and cut on a bias into 1/4-inch slices
15-ounces large cooked beans such as gigantes, giant lima beans, giant white beans, or butter beans, drained and rinsed (see note above)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread for serving

Combine 2 tablespoon olive oil, tomato paste, paprika, garlic, and shallot in a medium skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and starting to bubble gently, about 2 minutes. Stir in smoked paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Add celery, drained beans, vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Cook until barely warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Vegeable Fried Rice

2 cups cooked white rice (see note above) (12 ounces; 350g)
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided (30ml)
1 small onion, finely chopped (4 ounces; 115g)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice (3 ounces; 85g)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (1 ounce; 30g)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons; 5g)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Ground white pepper
1 large egg
4 ounces frozen peas (115g)

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break the rice up with your hands into individual grains before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until the rice is pale brown, toasted, and has a lightly chewy texture, about three minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

Return all the rice to the wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add onion, carrot, scallions, and garlic and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of the wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break the egg into the oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble the egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss the egg and the rice together.

Add frozen peas and continue to toss and stir until peas are thawed and every grain of rice is separate. Serve immediately.

Best Goulash

4 cups (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
4 packets powdered unflavored gelatin (1 ounce; 30g)
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
3 pounds (1.25kg) whole boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3 steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium carrots (10 ounces; 275g), 2 split lengthwise, 2 cut into bite-size pieces
2 small stalks celery (3 ounces; 85g)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (10 ounces; 275g)
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (8 ounces; 225g)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet Hungarian paprika (about 2 ounces; 55g)
1 tablespoon (15ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15ml) Asian fish sauce
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons flour (about 3/4 ounce; 20g)
1 pound (450g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) apple cider vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Sprinkle gelatin over chicken stock and set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower position and preheat oven to 275°F. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season beef all over with salt and pepper and add to Dutch oven. Cook, turning occasionally, until beef is well browned on 2 sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a rimmed baking sheet or large plate and set aside.

Add diced carrots to Dutch oven and cook, stirring, until well browned on all sides, about 4 minutes, lowering heat as necessary to prevent scorching. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add split carrot, celery stalks, onion, peppers, and garlic and cook until onion and peppers are softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

Add paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock/gelatin mixture, followed by soy sauce, fish sauce, bay leaves, and thyme.

Cut seared steaks into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with flour. Add beef and any juices accumulated in the tray or plate to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine and return to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer to oven, cover with lid partially open, and cook until beef is starting to become tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Liquid should remain at a slow, steady simmer throughout. Adjust oven temperature if necessary during cooking.

Remove stew from oven. Using tongs, fish out and discard carrot, celery, thyme, and bay leaves. Add potatoes and reserved sautéed carrots to stew, return to oven, and continue to cook, partially covered, until beef, potatoes, and carrots are tender and broth has thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Using a ladle, skim off any excess fat from the surface of the stew and discard.

Remove stew from oven. If necessary, place over a burner and simmer for up to 15 minutes to reduce to desired consistency. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (to taste). Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley. Alternatively, let cool overnight or refrigerate for up to 5 days and reheat to serve.

Easy Chicken Paprikash

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced or thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) high-quality Hungarian sweet paprika (see note above)
4 whole chicken legs, split into thighs and drumsticks (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
Egg noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle for serving
Minced fresh parsley leaves or dill (optional)

Heat oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until completely softened and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add paprika and cook, stirring, until nutty and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken pieces, season with a little more salt, and turn them with tongs until well-coated in the onion/paprika mixture. Nestle the chicken in a single layer in the bottom of the pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and cook until chicken is completely tender and pulls easily from the bone, 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces and set aside on a large plate. Pour liquid into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Skim off excess fat and discard. There should be about 1 cup of liquid remaining in the cup. If not, add water or low-sodium chicken broth to the measuring cup for a total of 1 1/2 cups. Return liquid to the pan and whisk in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and more paprika if desired. Return chicken to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce.

Serve immediately over noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle, tossing the noodles or potatoes with the sauce and placing the chicken on top. Garnish with more sour cream, paprika, and minced fresh parsley or dill (if using)

Best Chicken Paprikash

1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 (.25 ounce) packet powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
4 whole chicken legs, split into thighs and drumsticks (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional, see note above)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) high quality Hungarian sweet paprika (see note above)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
Minced fresh parsley leaves or dill (optional)
Egg noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle for serving

Pour chicken stock into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.

Season chicken pieces generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add chicken pieces skin-side-down in a single layer and cook without moving until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. As the chicken pieces finish browning, flip them over and cook until the second side is light golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a large plate and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan.

Add onions and bell peppers (if using) to the pan and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until the onions are tender and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant and nutty, about 1 minute.

Add stock/gelatin mixture and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf. Nestle seared chicken pieces back into the sauce, leaving them skin-side up. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover pan, and cook until chicken is completely tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces and set aside on a large plate. Whisk sour cream, fish sauce, lemon juice, and half of minced parsley or dill into sauce. Season to taste with salt and more paprika if desired. Return chicken to pan and turn to coat in sauce.

Serve immediately over noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle, tossing the noodles or potatoes with the sauce and placing the chicken on top. Garnish with more sour cream, paprika, and minced fresh parsley or dill (if using)

Notes: Bell pepper is not a traditional ingredient for chicken paprikash, but it is a common addition in the American version of the dish. It is important to use fresh, high-quality paprika sweet Hungarian-style paprika.

Chicken Tinga

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds; 550g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30ml) lard or vegetable oil
6 ounces tomatillos, peeled (170g; about 2 medium)
6 ounces ripe plum tomatoes (170g; about 2 medium)
4 medium garlic cloves
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (30ml) cider vinegar
2 cups (475ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock (or water)
2 to 3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) sauce from can
2 teaspoons (10ml) Asian fish sauce

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add chicken skin side down and cook, without moving, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. (Lower heat if pot is smoking excessively or chicken starts to burn.) Flip chicken and cook on second side for 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and immediately add tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic to pot. Cook, flipping occasionally, until blistered and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add oregano and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add vinegar and stock. Return chicken to pot, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken registers 145°F when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the center of the thickest part, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside. Continue cooking the sauce at a hard simmer, stirring, until reduced to about half its original volume, about 5 minutes longer.

Add chipotle chilies and adobo, remove and discard bay leaves, and blend the sauce using an immersion blender or by transferring to a countertop blender. Sauce should be relatively smooth, with a few small chunks. When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and finely shred the meat. Return it to the sauce. Add fish sauce and stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens and coats chicken. It should be very moist but not soupy. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if necessary). Chicken tinga can be served in tacos; stuffed into enchiladas or burritos; on top of nachos, tostadas, and sopes; or on its own.

Perfect Apple Pie (and Several Variations)

4 to 4 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious, Braeburn, or other baking apples, peeled cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
3 quarts boiling water (or cider, see note)
10 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling over crust
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch (see note)
1 recipe Easy Double Pie Dough (see related)
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Notes:
–For a looser, juicy pie, use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. For a firmer filling that holds its shape more when sliced, use up to 4 tablespoons cornstarch.
–You can use hot cider in place of water to soak the apples. The cider can be saved for drinking.
–For better texture, sous vide apples before baking. Seal apples with their sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch, bag ’em up, and cook ’em at around 155° for an hour or so before baking them as usual.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and place a heavy rimmed baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place apple slices in a large bowl or pot. Pour boiling water or cider directly over top. Cover and set aside at room temperature for ten minutes. Drain apples well and let sit in a colander in the sink, tossing occasionally until completely dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add 10 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch, and toss until apples are evenly coated. Set mixture aside.

Roll one disk of pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Add filling, discarding any excessive juices in the bottom of the bowl. Roll remaining disk of pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to top of pie. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the edges of both pie crusts until they overhang the edge of the pie plate by 1/2 an inch all the way around. Fold edges of both pie crusts down together, tucking them in between the bottom crust and the pie plate and working your way all the way around the pie plate until everything is well tucked. Use the forefinger on your left hand and the thumb and forefinger on your right hand to crimp the edges. Cut 5 slits in the top with a sharp knife for ventilation.

Use a pastry brush to brush an even coat of lightly beaten egg white all over the top surface of the pie. Sprinkle evenly with a tablespoon of sugar. Transfer pie to sheet tray in the oven and bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

Variations:

For skillet apple pie, place prepared apples in a cast iron skillet and cover with one pie crust. Bake just like a regular pie.

If you want to get extra special, try adding a layer of nice nutty aged cheese, like good cheddar, or perhaps some Comté, to the top of the apples. You’d be amazed by how well cheese and apples go together.

Or, turn your skillet pie into a perfectly fine pandowdy by breaking up the crust half way through baking and pushing the edges directly into the filling to soften up a bit as it finishes baking.

Apple crisps and apple crumbles are perhaps the easiest variations to make. Just make your apple filling, then combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 cups chopped or slivered nuts (I like almonds or pecans), 3/4 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 a cup of butter. Work the mixture together with your fingers, spread if over your apple filling, and bake at around 375°F until nicely browned.

If you’ve got a thing for biscuits, then a cobbler is your dessert of choice. All you’ve got to do is make your apple filling, drop it into a deep sided pot (I use my enameled cast iron Dutch oven), drop a few balls of biscuit dough on top, and bake.

Blind Baking a Pie Crust

To blind-bake a crust, start by preheating your oven to 425°F, with a rack placed in the lower third. If you’re using a metal pie plate, you can place it directly on the rack. If you’re using a glass or ceramic dish, placing an empty rimmed aluminum baking sheet on the rack while the oven preheats can help ensure that your bottom crust comes out extra crisp.

To prevent puffing, you’ve got two options: docking or using weights. With docking, you poke the bottom crust several times with the tines of a fork to give expanding air and water vapor a means of escape. Of course, this does nothing to help the sides of your crust stay upright.

Weighting a pie crust by first lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then filling it with pie weights, dried beans, or pennies, both solves the puffy-bottom problem and helps keep the sides upright as the pie crust bakes. (For the record, weighting a pie crust without first lining it with parchment or foil is also a bad idea, which I also learned the hard way.)

For the best results, line your pie plate with your dough, then transfer it to the freezer for about 10 minutes in order to really firm it up before lining it with foil or parchment. This will help ensure that the crust keeps a nice shape as it bakes.

Once it’s lined and weighted, transfer the crust to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, just until the crust begins to set.

Remove the liner and the weights and continue baking until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Remove it from the oven, and make sure that it is completely cooled before you fill it. A blind-baked crust can be covered loosely with foil and stored at room temperature for up to three days before being filled.

Easy Double Pie Crust

This makes enough for two single-crust pies or one double crust pie. For a slightly more tender crust, replace up to 6 tablespoons of butter with vegetable shortening. Pie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking.

2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons cold water

Combine two thirds of flour with sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate. Spread butter chunks evenly over surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 short pulses. Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle with remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses. Transfer dough to a large bowl.

Sprinkle with water then using a rubber spatula, fold and press dough until it comes together into a ball. Divide ball in half. Form each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and baking.

Extra Smooth Pumpkin Pie

1 9-inch Pie Crust

6 ounces granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree, or 15 ounces homemade pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position. Place a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the edges of the pie dough until it overhangs the edge of the pie plate by 1/2 an inch all the way around. Fold edges of pie dough down, tucking it under itself, working your way all the way around the pie plate until everything is well tucked. Use the forefinger on your left hand and the thumb and forefinger on your right hand to crimp the edges. When oven is ready, line chilled pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with weights (I reuse dried beans for this), transfer to the preheated baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and liner, turn pie, and bake until the bottom crust is a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove pie shell from oven and allow to cool completely.

Reduce heat to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and pulse 3 times to mix. Add the cream cheese and pulse until a homogeneous paste forms. Add the pumpkin and butter and process for 30 seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 30 seconds longer. Add the eggs and process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. For extra-smooth pie, press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a chinois using the back of a ladle.

Pour the mixture into prepared pie shell and smooth over the top with a rubber spatula. Rap the shell firmly against the counter a few times in order to release any air bubbles. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven and bake for until the filling puffs slightly and the center only moves slightly when jiggled, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pie half way through baking. Allow the pie to cool for at least one hour before serving. It may be chilled for up to two days.