The creamiest, beefiest, tangiest, funkiest, spiciest, and even booziest recipes we've ever cooked up.
October 09, 2012
1 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
Our Happiest Recipes Ever
It was a tough job, but we decided to find and taste our way through 25 years of archives to bring you these superlative recipes. First up, our Beefiest Recipe Ever.
Beefy bliss comes when you start with a flavor-packed cut like brisket and grind the meat yourself. Yes, it’s absolutely worth doing this because the meat is simply more juicy. To keep the meat from drying out, don’t cook beyond medium. Show restraint with condiments and toppings, as we did, so you don’t cover up that meaty flavor: This is a burger for purists.
2 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
That catch-in-the-throat, that swoon-worthy meltiness—it’s what these chocolate bites deliver. Cane syrup and evaporated milk keep these truffles extra-creamy without relying on heavy cream. Our lighter recipe cuts half the fat and about two-thirds of the saturated fat from a classic truffle.
3 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
Thirteen firecracker-fierce Thai chiles blend into a sauce that is beautifully complex, with sweet, fragrant, and salty refrains along with serious heat. To tame the flame, you can use less of the Thai chiles and add extra mild bell pepper. Serve with crisp, cooling cucumber and an ice-cold beer.
4 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
Only five ingredients, not including salt and pepper. Low, slow, undisturbed time in a bubbling bath of wine and tomatoes cooks lamb to meltingly tender, fall-off-the-bone greatness. For more comforting joy, serve over basic creamy polenta: Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup uncooked polenta and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.
5 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
The earthy pleasures of mushrooms, fontina cheese, and truffle oil are all here, delivering a whiff of damp wood, nuts, and meat in a vegetarian dish. It’s one of the most savory pizzas you’ll ever try, with a crunchy bit of finishing salt sprinkled on at the end. The pizza dough, made with quick-rise yeast, takes just 30 minutes to rise and double in size, but you can also start with store-bought dough to speed things up.
6 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
Prepare to be amazed: This bird is so beautifully brown—almost as if lacquered—and so wonderfully moist and full of sweet bourbon depth that it will have you firing up the grill year-round. The best flavor, we’ve found, comes from chickens that have not been injected with salt brine; we like Bell & Evans air-chilled birds.
7 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
There’s something about the way plain old macaroni cooks to a soft, silky texture that enhances the creaminess of this dish. Each hollow noodle gets coated inside and out with luscious sauce. Although we rarely use processed cheese, here it’s the key to a supercreamy texture that does not rely on heavy cream. We tested lots of mac and cheese recipes, and none was as velvety as this one. It has half the fat and calories of traditional versions with no loss of richness.
8 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
We mean business with this ultratart tart. It’s intensely sour, drawing winks from folks after one bite (and, from those with a serious sweet tooth, winces). A lemon quadruple-threat creates this effect: juice, rind, sections, and slices. If you prefer a bit less tang, omit the lemon juice. Try to get the thinnest lemon slices you can for the top of the dessert; a mandoline or very sharp serrated knife will do the trick.
9 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
Is it a drink or dessert? Who cares? It satisfies both cravings. Our garnet-colored slush has all the qualities of a delicious cocktail—a not-too-sweet combination of high-quality liquor and fruity tang. Make sure to steer clear of above-80-proof bourbon; it won’t freeze solid enough to become slushy. Garnish with any fresh herb.
10 of 10Photo: Levi Brown
A darling dessert, guaranteed to make anyone smile. It captures the lovable flavors of a classic banana split between two crisp-chewy cookies. You can make the sandwiches through step 4 and stash in the freezer for up to a month. Let them sit out at room temperature to soften a bit before adding toppings.