5 November, 2015
Just the Essentials with Becky Hays
Making the fried rice is easy enough, but keeping her six-year-old from eating the fried onions that go with it is a different story.
In celebration of our latest publication, 100 Recipes—a book which lists, in our estimation, the 100 most essential recipes in the history of the Test Kitchen—our beloved television personalities have each compiled a list of their five favorite recipes from the book. Below, co-host Becky Hays lists hers, including a recipe for rustic bread that barely needs kneading, and a recipe for tortilla soup she developed a decade ago.
I developed this recipe a decade ago and it’s still one of my go-tos. A puree of onion,
tomato, and chiles creates a surprising amount of depth and complexity in the
cilantro-and-oregano-scented broth. Chicken breasts are poached in the broth and
then shredded, and the soup is served with plenty of garnishes. Pile your bowl with
crunchy tortilla strips, diced avocado, Mexican crema, and salty Cotija, and you’re in
For about five minutes of work, the payoff here is huge—a rustic loaf with a tender,
airy interior and a rich, crusty exterior. I have the recipe committed to memory and
I bake a loaf once or twice a week during the fall and winter months. I particularly
like the cranberry-pecan variation toasted for breakfast.
Give me a fruit pie over a cake any day, especially if it’s our blueberry pie. Adding a
shredded Granny Smith apple (along with some ground tapioca) to the filling is
genius: The pectin in the apple thickens the pie to the perfect consistency and
balances the sweet berries with just a hint of tartness.
The first time I roasted this chicken for my husband he made me promise to make it
again the following week. I obliged, and the recipe is now a regular part of our
rotation. The chicken is supermoist and packed with citrusy and fiery chile flavors.
Don’t skip the garlicky Spicy Mayonnaise—it takes this dish over the top.
I make a lot of vegetarian meals for my family, and this one hits all of the right notes.
It’s earthy and satisfying and the tangy, garlicky yogurt sauce cuts the richness.
Don’t even get me started on the crispy fried onions: My six-year-old son typically
tries to gobble them up before dinner.
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Source: America’s Test Kitchen.