Generations of home cooks have been inspired by the recipes and writing of Edna Lewis. Among them is Elle Simone, food stylist and test cook for America's Test Kitchen. Managing Producer Sally Swift sat down with Simone to hear about the Miss Edna-inspired America's Test Kitchen recipe for Chicken and Pastry, a hearty soup with a thick broth that contains bits of dumpling-like pastry. Try the recipe at home for comfort food at its best!


elle simone of america's test kitchen
Elle Simone
(Photo: Daniel J. van Ackere)

"Is there any such thing as just a chicken broth, I mean, really? We start with browning the chicken, which is a great step because when you caramelize any type of fat it enhances the flavor. When you have a soup or broth that has minimal ingredients, you have to do the special things that draw out the flavor. So, browning the chicken is the very first step."

- Elle Simone discusses adding complexity to a simple chicken broth

"It's very elegant. Edna was a home cook to begin with, and I think like most good home cooks, she was very concerned about aesthetic; it was important to her for that to be beautiful. Also, when she was at Café Nicholson in the 1950s in Manhattan, she wanted something that would make her dishes stand out amongst the rest. I think little steps like finessing pastries by cutting them in diamond shapes was a perfect way to show who she was and how she cooked."

- Elle Simone on the diamond-cut of the pastry in the America's Test Kitchen recipe for Chicken and Pastry

 

Sally Swift

Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.

America's Test Kitchen

On each episode of The Splendid Table we visit with the test cooks at America’s Test Kitchen to discuss a wide range of topics including recipes, ingredients, techniques and kitchen equipment.