Dinner SOS is the podcast where we answer your highly specific cooking conundrums. In every episode food director Chris Morocco and a rotating cast of cooking experts tackle a caller’s kitchen emergency and present two solutions. The caller will pick one, cook through it, and let us know if we successfully helped rescue dinner.
This week’s guest, Claire, is looking for a dynamic dinner party menu that won’t take her away from her guests. Chris and associate food editor Zaynab Issa each suggest dishes that will wow Claire’s guests without keeping her in the kitchen for the whole party.
To hear more, head to episode five of Dinner SOS. And if you have a dinner emergency of your own, reach out to Chris and the team at email@example.com or by calling 212-286-SOS-1 (212-286-7071).
Subscribe to Dinner SOS here. You can also check out an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript below.
Chris Morocco: I’ll kick things off with my recipe selection: Dawn Perry’s Duck Confit With Spicy Pickled Raisins. I think this is a wonderful dish because there’s a tremendous make-ahead ability here. It’s a classic. So this has you just seasoning the duck and then basically putting it right into the oven. Especially if you season the duck a day in advance and then cook it off the day that you’re gonna serve it, or even if you wanted to cook it a day before you planned to serve it and just kind of keep it stored in its own fat and reheat it, it’s tremendous. You will literally have neighbors walking like zombies down like the hallway of your building or through the streets, trying to figure out what that smell is that’s perfumed your entire block. And what I also love about this recipe is that duck confit is heavy. It’s fatty. It’s rich. It’s salty. But there are these wonderful pickled raisins—golden raisins that have been steeped with white wine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, and some rosemary—and it just punches through that richness. Z, do you wanna talk about the dish that you’re proposing?
Zaynab Issa: I actually ended up choosing a recipe I developed last spring. It’s my Date-and-Soy-Braised Short Ribs. Picking your own recipe is the smartest because you know it the best, and so I’m more sure that I’ll win this competition, especially considering the season that we’re in. A braise is ideal. When it’s cold outside and everyone’s removing their massive puffer jackets and getting warm, all they want is to sit on a couch and have a bowl of braised beef and rice. Like Chris’s, it has really great make-ahead potential. You could pretty much do the whole thing a few hours before everybody gets there and then leave it to braise while you go get ready, set the table, whatever. Come back, hike the heat up a little bit to get the braising liquid to a saucy place, and then put together the snap pea and mint salad. Or even doing it with cucumbers would be really nice.