The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

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The Food Lab: The Pressure Cooker Makes Short Work of This Authentic Texas Chile con Carne

Real Texas chile con carne is all about the beef and the chilies. In this version, we start with toasted whole dried chilies and puree them with broth and spices before adding beef chuck and cooking the whole thing down in a pressure cooker. 30 minutes later, you've got spoon-tender chunks of beef in a rich, complex chili-based stew. More

The Food Lab: Introducing Lasagna Napoletana, the Meatball and Cheese-Packed Lasagna of Your Dreams

We all know about lasagna Bolognese, the Northern Italian casserole made with fresh pasta layered with cheese sauce and a slow-cooked meat sauce enriched with cream. But what if I told you that there was another lasagna out there that's every bit as decadent, involved, rib-sticking, and delicious? I introduce to you Lasagna Napoletana, a lasagna that comes stuffed with an insanely meaty and savory red sauce, small and tender meatballs with crisp edges, slices of sausage, and not one, not two, not even three, but four types of cheese. Are you ready to have your gut busted and your mind blown? More

Lasagna Napoletana (Lasagna With Sausage, Smoked Cheese, and Meatballs)

We all know about lasagna Bolognese, the Northern Italian casserole made with fresh pasta layered with cheese sauce and a slow-cooked meat sauce enriched with cream. But what if I told you that there was another lasagna out there every bit as decadent, involved, rib-sticking, and delicious? I introduce to you Lasagna Napoletana, a lasagna that comes stuffed with an insanely meaty and savory red sauce, small tender-crisp meatballs, slices of sausage, and not one, not two, not even three, but four types of cheese. Are you ready to have your gut busted and your mind blown? Let's go. More

How to Make Meatball Pizza

Growing up in New York, I'd never eaten a meatball pizza. Pizza is for eating out, meatballs are home cooking. It wasn't until I tasted the meatball pizza at Motorino and then at Best Pizza in Williamsburg that I discovered how great the idea is. But like all mashups, there's a bit of finesse to getting it right. More

The Best Meatball Pizza

Growing up in New York, I'd never eaten a meatball pizza. Pizza is for eating out, meatballs are home cooking. It wasn't until I tasted the meatball pizza at Motorino and then at Best Pizza in Williamsburg that I discovered how great the idea is. It's two Italian-American favorites, all rolled into one spectacularly comforting dish. But like all mashups, there's a bit of finesse to getting it right. Here's how I make mine. More

The Food Lab: Rethinking Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff, when done right, is one of those magical dishes that acts and tastes like a stew, but is actually a quick-cooking dish in disguise. With just about 45 minutes in the kitchen, you can make a dish that comes packed with tender meat and rich, deep, rib-sticking flavors that taste like they were cooked all day. My goal: A beef stroganoff with the most tender, juicy beef around in a sauce that balances rich, browned flavors with brighter notes and most importantly, a creaminess that doesn't break or turn grainy under any circumstances. I decided to break down the process one step at a time to get there, starting with the meat. More

Use the Pressure Cooker to Make Full-Flavored Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) In 30 Minutes

Pho bo—Vietnamese beef noodle soup—may be more popular in the states, but its cousin pho ga, made with chicken, is easier to make, and in my book, just as tasty. What if I told you that you could make a superb bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with rich, aromatic broth and fall-off-the-bone tender chicken, all in under half an hour? The pressure cooker comes to the rescue. More

30-Minute Pressure Cooker Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

Pho bo—Vietnamese beef noodle soup—may be more popular in the states, but its cousin pho ga, made with chicken, is easier to make, and in my book, just as tasty. What if I told you that you could make a superb bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with rich, aromatic broth and fall-off-the-bone tender chicken, all in under half an hour? The pressure cooker comes to the rescue. More

The Food Lab: How to Make Potato Leek Soup the Easy and Easier way

Today I'm going to show you how to make two different versions of the same dish. They both use the exact same ingredients to produce similar end results. The first recipe for potato leek soup is the most involved, and it'll make just about the tastiest potato leek soup you've ever had. Light, creamy, packed with flavor, and soul-satisfyingly delicious. The second takes a fraction of the time and produces a soup with very similar flavor, but a slightly inferior texture. It's still something I'd happily serve to dinner guests any night of the week. More

The Food Lab: My 11 Favorite Recipes of the Year, 2014

I spend so much time cooking and thinking about what I'm going to cook next that I don't often get to look back at what I've actually done. This has been a pretty big year for me recipe-wise, with some fun breakthroughs, some delicious staples that have made their way into my everyday life, and other recipes that, while they may not be the simplest, are worth every second of the time and effort that go into them. Here are my favorites of they year. They aren't necessarily the most popular, but they were the ones I had the most fun developing and eating. More

The Food Lab: The Secret to Perfect Beef Tenderloin? The Reverse Sear Strikes Again

Whole-roasted beef tenderloin is a once-a-year celebratory dish that can be fantastic if done properly. The problem is, its extra-lean meat lacks flavor, not to mention how easily it dries out and overcooks. Our slow-roasting reverse-sear method ensures perfectly medium-rare meat from edge to center with a nicely browned, flavorful crust. More

Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Whole-roasted beef tenderloin is a once-a-year celebratory dish that can be fantastic if done properly. The problem is, its extra-lean meat dries out and overcooks very easily. Our slow-roasting reverse-sear method ensures perfectly medium-rare meat from edge to center with a nicely browned, flavorful crust. More

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Leg of Lamb

It always baffles me when I hear statistics about lamb consumption in the US. Compared to chicken, beef, and pork sales, lamb consumption is a drop in the bucket And why? It's certainly one of the most delicious meats around, with its meaty texture, and intense flavor. Because I love lamb so hard, I'm going to try my best to remedy that situation, starting with the best way to cook a boneless leg of lamb. I'm talking about a method that delivers mild, flavorful meat with a tender texture and a perfectly rosy medium-rare hue all the way from edge to center, surrounded in a crisp layer of browned, crackly fat. Here's everything you need to know. More

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Prime Rib

Is there anything more truly beautiful than a perfect prime rib? A deep brown crust crackling with salt and fat, sliced open to reveal a juicy pink center that extends from edge to edge as it gets sliced. It's the ultimate in luxurious holiday roasts, but its high price can make it daunting to cook for even seasoned roasters. Here's the definitive guide to buying, storing, preparing, cooking, carving, and serving absolutely perfect prime rib. More

The Food Lab: Slow Cooked Bolognese Sauce

When it comes to meat sauces, ragú Bolognese is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. To arrive at this version, I started with Barbara Lynch's great recipe, adding a few tweaks here and there to enhance meatiness and texture (hello pancetta, gelatin, and fish sauce!), and employing a unique oven-based cooking technique that develops rich browned flavors all while maintaining the tender, silky texture that the best sauces have. This is the kind of sauce that will leave you and your loved ones weak in the knees. More

The Best Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce

When it comes to meat sauces, ragù Bolognese is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. To arrive at this version, I started with Barbara Lynch's great recipe, adding a few tweaks here and there to enhance meatiness and texture (hello pancetta, gelatin, and fish sauce!), and employing a unique oven-based cooking technique that develops rich browned flavors all while maintaining the tender, silky texture that the best sauces have. This is the kind of sauce that will leave you and your loved ones weak in the knees. More

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