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Black bean chili should be primarily about the beans — they should be creamy, tender, and well-seasoned. We wanted a hearty bean chili that was as rich, savory, and deeply satisfying as any meat chili out there, yet simple to make in our multicooker.

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This classic New Orleans specialty is built on a roux — a cooked mixture of fat and flour that must be stirred constantly, sometimes for an hour or more, until it is deep brown.

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It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love a bowl of spaghetti topped with meatballs and marinara, but stovetop versions are often messy (between the spattering oil from frying the meatballs and the sputtering tomato sauce), and the sauce requires a long simmering time to develop rich, deep flavor.

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Shrimp scampi is rarely awful — t’s unusual for things to go terribly wrong when garlic, wine and butter are involved — but restaurant versions always make me wish I’d ordered differently. I have never been presented with the ultimate scampi, the one that I can almost taste when I peruse the menu: perfectly cooked, briny beauties in a garlicky, buttery (but not greasy) white wine sauce.

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Good gingerbread is dark and moist, with an intriguing hint of bitterness and a peppery finish. Usually it’s a rustic square cake or maybe even an attractive Bundt, but it’s never quite sophisticated enough to serve as the centerpiece holiday dessert.

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Although it’s hard to imagine that apple crisp needs much improvement, we liked the tartness and texture that cranberries added to one of our favorite standard dessert recipes. The challenges were balancing the fruit flavors and making sure that the filling baked evenly while the topping stayed crisp.

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Most of the time, I end up putting my energy into the main course. You, too, right? The side dishes then have a tiered level of time and effort afforded to each of them, often ending with something exciting like “rice.”

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This bistro classic is as refined as it is rich. We kept the filling onion-forward by cooking the strands in rendered bacon fat and stirring them into a light custard. Use yellow or white onions here; sweet onions will make the tart too sweet. Use a 9-inch tinned-steel tart pan.

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These scones are a flaky, honey-glazed brunch delight, brimming with juicy, sweet berries in a buttery, rich crumb. We achieved a perfectly crumbly texture by incorporating butter in two ways, processing some with flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for even distribution, then pulsing more into pea-size pieces to achieve rich buttery pockets.

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With the arrival of fall, my produce thoughts start moving from things that grow above the ground to things that grow under it. Yes, my fellow seasonal cooks, root vegetable season is heading our way.

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With a tangy, rich flavor and velvety consistency, cheesecake’s characteristic qualities make it well-suited to variation: Lemon cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, and berry cheesecake are all common. But our favorite variation might just be pumpkin cheesecake.

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We start our cheese bread with all-purpose flour and add whole milk and sour cream for a clean, creamy flavor and rich, moist texture. Just a few tablespoons of butter adds enough richness without greasiness, and using less fat makes the texture heartier and less cakelike.

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In cities around the country with large Korean populations, you might find Korean fried chicken wings. With their shattery, thin crust and lacquered coating, they aren’t something you’re likely to eat just once and then say, “Well, that was satisfying, I’ll cross that off the old bucket list.”

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Some of the greatest chilies you’ll ever eat hail from New Mexico’s Hatch Valley, which is why — naturally enough — tiny Hatch, New Mexico, is known as “The Chili Capital of the World.” This being the season for Hatch chilies, I thought it might be fun to showcase them at one of your very own backyard parties.

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The unmistakable flavor of Old Bay seasoning is the key ingredient in many seafood dishes north, south and west of the Chesapeake Bay, particularly anything to do with crab and crayfish.