Looking for a good summer read? We were too, and we happened to find it in the cookbook section at our favorite bookstore. A little known fact, at any bookstore we usually head straight to the cookbook section. We love to get lost in the pages of different cuisines and recipes as told by our favorite food personalities. Collecting cookbooks is a practical hobby for us – one that nourishes us and our imagination. Today, we’re excited to introduce to you a new series highlighting our favorite cookbooks. We found these to be so helpful, affordable, and easy, we just had to share. And we insist you incorporate these into your everyday food adventures! Our very first cookbook crush? Williams-Sonoma’s Cook Good Food.
For just under $20, Cook Good Food is the perfect companion for a beginner cook or someone who wants to practice a specific technique. Straight-forward and easily understood, this cookbook provides detailed recipes as well as beautiful food styling that is easy tp recreate. Want to learn different cooking techniques? There are seven explored throughout the book: sautéing, stir-frying, frying, braising, steaming, simmering, and poaching. For each technique there is a quick step-by-step lesson, then 8-10 simple recipes to help you practice your new skill.
Your guests will think you’ve slaved over the stove all day.
We took our trusty “Cook Good Food” into the TEG test kitchen to tackle the big, scary world of braising. While we know braising can really wow a crowd, the idea is often intimidating. Why would we want to pour wine into a pot instead of drinking it?! It has to cook for how long?! Now we know. It’s quite possibly the simplest way to feed multiple guests, yields the least amount of dirty pots, and results in one big pot of love. The best part? Your guests will think you’ve slaved over the stove all day. You didn’t. Trust us.
Braising, it turns out, requires little equipment. The essentials: a large pot with a lid, a pair of tongs, wooden spoons, flavorful liquid, and a low heat. Check. Check. Check. All things easily found in a basic kitchen. (If not in yours, check out our shopping guide below!)
We decided to tackle the garlic chicken recipe since it required just seven ingredients, and really, who doesn’t like garlic and chicken? Add thyme and white wine, and we have a party! The dish, thanks to our newly learned braising technique, was a happy marriage of tender chicken and rustic flavors.
- Our biggest lesson – don’t overcrowd the pot. The chicken would’ve been browner and crispier had we cooked the chicken in batches.
- Deglazing is crucial to developing the flavors. Use good wine and/or chicken stock as your liquid.
- Braising doesn’t always have to take hours! This dish only took 45 minutes.
- A braised meal loves a good salad. Try serving your garlic chicken with a refreshing salad.
Williams-Sonoma Garlic Chicken
Cut-up chicken: 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and 2 breast halves
Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Canola oil, 2 tablespoons
Garlic, 4 heads, separated into cloves, unpeeled
Dry white wine, 3/4 cup
Fresh thyme, 1 tbsp chopped
Hot crusty bread, for serving
1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large pot warm the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken and cook, turning frequently, until well-browned, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. Add the garlic cloves and sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir to scrap up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with the thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Bring the liquid just to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and braise until the chicken is tender and opaque throughout, about 45 minutes.
3. Uncover the pot and check one of the thickest chicken pieces. The meat should be cooked through and falling off the bone. If not, recover and continue cooking, checking again for doneness every 10-15 minutes.
4. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Set aside a few garlic cloves. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a saucepan and strain the pan juices through the sieve into the pan. Press on the garlic cloves to extract as much liquid and pulp as possible. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the cooking liquid over the top. Serve the chicken right away with the bread and reserved garlic cloves for squeezing.
Let’s chat! What are some of your favorite cookbooks? Share with us below or via Twitter & Instagram with the hashtag #TheEverygirlCooks!