Welcome to the week. Your next newsletter will come from the golden pen of Melissa Clark on Wednesday; Sam will be back after Labor Day.
While I still have the floor, I’m going to talk about one of the world’s great recipe genres: chicken and rice cooked together. I love it in all the forms I’ve tried, like arroz con pollo, chicken with jollof rice, chicken pilaf, maqluba and Hainanese chicken rice. In my kitchen, Yotam Ottolenghi’s version with caramelized onions and cardamom is considered the Greatest of All Time. And there are countless more versions in my Recipe Box at NYT Cooking and in the bulging loose-leaf I keep at home.
However, I’ll expand my horizons this week with David Tanis’s new version (above), where he’s replaced the rice with nutty roasted freekeh. The grain has been used in the Middle East since time immemorial, and its taste is special because the whole wheat grains are harvested while still green, then roasted over an open fire. Freekeh, like almost everything, tastes extremely good when cooked in butter, olive oil and chicken fat.
And now — recipes to get you through the week! How about a quick white bean-celery ragout? That sounds perfect right now. Or this mash-up of Italian meat sauce and Korean bulgogi? We’re doing a lot of interesting things with feta lately, like adding it to a sheet-pan supper with shrimp and tomatoes, and puréeing it into salad dressing.
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Finally, if you can find a minute to bake, the cookie of the week is the sablé. Long before Dorie Greenspan had a regular column in The New York Times, I barged into her kitchen and forced her to give up the secrets to perfect shortbread cookies. (Having learned to bake in France, she calls them sablés, meaning sandy, as in pecan sandies.) Her breakthrough book had just been published; soon, her dark chocolate sablés, a.k.a. World Peace Cookies, would make her famous. And now she has brought us a simple, original (and very American) corn sablé, a delicate cookie with the lightest possible taste of buttered corn.
All of these cookie recipes provide tremendous rewards for very little work. And isn’t that the dream?
See you next year.