Here are three things we learned in this episode.
Want to know where and when America’s Test Kitchen airs in your area? Enter your zip code into our station finder.
Smothered and DowdiedOn this episode of Cook’s Country TV, Bridget and Julia make southern-style smothered chicken and apple pandowdy, and Adam reviews kitchen timers.
1. The Key to Great Smothered Chicken
And that is, of course, to let the chicken flavor shine. Smothered chicken is a soul food dish in which inexpensive ingredients are turned into a heavenly meal. But many versions of this recipe are overwhelmed with heavy sauces and too many herbs. To put the focus on the chicken, we brown the chicken—making sure not to overcrowd the pot—and scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom for use in our sauce. It’s crucial not to overcrowd during this step, because all that browning is where you’re going to get that intense chicken flavor.
2. A Good Kitchen Timer Should Be . . .
Accurate (duh), durable, and easy to use. While all of the kitchen timers we tested were accurate and durable, not all of them were intuitive. A keypad, a dedicated clear button, and, ideally, the ability to time multiple cooking events is what you should be looking for when buying a kitchen timer.
3. Apple Pandowdy Is Purposefully Messy
Desserts are often intentionally beautiful—but not apple pandowdy. Through a process called “dowdying,” this New England classic—which Dinah Shore once sung of—isn’t the prettiest on the plate, but it’s among the most delicious. Why is it dowdied in the first place? That has to do with its history: When it came into existence, many pie doughs were less tender than the doughs we have today, so cooks had to dowdy this dessert to make it edible.