As is true of our wonderful home cooks and customers, if forced to choose, we will admit to having favorite recipes. One of our cooks makes claypot chicken on the regular; another can’t get enough of our chicken pot pie; the test kitchen director is obsessed with pasta.
Here’s what we’ve been going bananas for the most, especially during shelter-in-place. Get bookmarking, and be sure to follow us on Instagram, which is where we not-so-humble-brag about our staff’s cooking chops!
Recipe Editor Sharron Wood is wild for this chicken pot pie. Loaded up with tarragon, thyme and plenty of mushrooms, “it’s a stunner for dinner parties, as it serves eight generously,” she says. When she’s not hosting, the leftovers make for a week’s worth of lunches. No filo dough? No problem. Do as Sharron does and make buttermilk biscuits to serve alongside. As a self-described “Southern girl,” she’s especially partial to them. This is also a favorite family recipe of Brand Marketing Vice President Jean Armstrong, who will make one pie for dinner and freeze one for later. Smart!
Social media maven Jennifer Yee is all about our basic pie dough. “It’s really easy to work with and creates a nice flaky and flavorful crust,” she writes, and “it’s easy to double the recipe for a top crust or if you want more dough for hand pies.” (Sold!) Jennifer pulls the four-ingredient recipe out “any time of year, for whatever filling I’m in the mood for, whether it’s berry in the summer or apple in the fall.”
The best spring and summer meals are the ones that mingle veg, starch and protein in one fell, delicious swoop. That’s one of the many charms of this cauliflower pesto spaghettini dish. “I first saw this recipe in The Newlywed Cookbook when I was a cookbook editor for the Williams Sonoma cookbooks, says Content Manager Lisa Atwood. “I love it because it’s simply delicious, incredibly easy, makes a ton, and stores well.” A tip from the pro: “Charring cauliflower in a dry pan avoids sogginess and adds flavor at the same time.” (Plus, you keep the oven off and your home cool!)
Rosemary. Lemon. Cannellini beans. Sausage. Kale. Some of Italian cuisine’s greatest hits mingle in this lovely minestrone from Test Kitchen Director Belle English. “It’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever developed!” says Belle. “It’s cozy but fresh and packed with flavor.” She’ll occasionally substitute ground chicken for the pork sausage for a lighter version, or omit the meat altogether. And it’s not just for fall or winter, she says. “I make this soup all year long! It’s also always better the next day once the ingredients really get to know each other.” Noted, Belle!
Yes, it’s as good as it looks. This claypot chicken is the brainchild of San Francisco chef Charles Phan of the iconic modern Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. It features Phan’s Claypot Chicken braising sauce, a custom blend of brown sugar, garlic, pepper, shallots and ginger. The dish comes together in 20 minutes, which is part of why our hard-working test kitchen cook Devon Francis so loves it. Devon was part of the collaborative team that tested this sauce, and often serves this dish on weekends to friends and family. “I love serving it over garlic ginger cauliflower rice with a fresh green herb salad that includes lots of cilantro,” which pairs wonderfully with the chicken.
We’re hearing ever more about the importance of letting kids feel autonomous in making their own food choices from an early age. (Interesting reading: Ellyn Satter’s “division of responsibility” theory. You pick where, when and the menu for the kids; they choose how much and which things to eat.) Burrito bowls from the Junior Chef Master Class Cookbook play beautifully into this theory, and they’re fun and less work for you, to boot. Rebecca Hecht, Director of Creative Services, says, “We probably have some variation of this dish at least once a week. It’s so easy the kids can help prep (smashing avocados, rinsing black beans) and everyone can assemble themselves with what they like best. (I often make mine a salad).” Rebecca will swap out salmon or shrimp for chicken, use bell peppers instead of corn, and generally keep it simple for the whole family.
“Mommy, it’s kind of magic.” So says the six-year-old son of Art Director Kate Wilentz of this Dutch baby recipe, which Kate says is “hands-down our new favorite.” She’ll bust it out at breakfast, lunch or even dinner for her two boys. Easy and fast to execute, “it’s the perfect thing to make when you are sick of everything!” Recently she added cherries instead of blueberries to the recipe. Everyone loves both the eating and the making of it. (If you haven’t peered through an oven door —carefully!—as a Dutch baby puffs and blooms to life, have you really lived?)