cover image Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs

Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs

. America's Test Kitchen, $35 (433pp) ISBN 978-0-936184-78-4

Forget the spinach, forget the potatoes: many Americans dream of a dinner with a glistening, juicy, well-caramelized steak. But with high-end steaks pushing $20 a pound, there's little room to experiment, which makes this collection of fail-proof recipes by the editors of Cook's Illustrated (The Best Recipe; etc.) all the more valuable. Reading the volume is like taking a crash-course at the butcher's: the first 20 pages explain and rate various different cuts of beef, veal, pork and lamb, as well as various cooking methods (grill-roasting, pan-searing, braising, etc.). Subsequent chapters are organized to satisfy all kinds of kitchen hankerings (e.g. ""I Want to Cook Meat on a Stick,"" ""I Want to Make Pot Roast"") using simple and easy techniques. Ever concerned with efficiency and affordability, the C.I./America's Test Kitchen team devised many innovations for this collection, among them a tasty Beef Goulash that doesn't require beef stock and a method for slicing beef for Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches with a food processor. Attractive line drawings illustrate important techniques like making a pan sauce and working with supermarket puff pastry. From simple recipes like Pan-Fried Breaded Pork Cutlets (complemented by an excellent recipe for homemade Japanese Tonkatsu sauce) to more time-consuming ones like the flavor-bursting Braised Lamb Shanks with Lemon and Mint, the recipes streamline traditional dishes without loosing an ounce of flavor. Perhaps in response to complaints that Cook's Illustrated recipes can be boring, this cookbook includes several contemporary sauce ideas-such as Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Paprika Butter for steaks and assertive wet-rubs for pork tenderloin-that would not be out-of-place in a professional kitchen. This cookbook could quickly become indispensable to any carnivore's dinner dreams.