A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have a sneak peek at the new illustrated book, A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists & Single Moms Who Changed the World With Food by Deepi Ahluwalia and Stef Ferrari. It’s an informative and captivating collection of brief biographies and stories, some with recipes, about badass women by badass women! There were so many women to feature whom I thought might best represent the spirit and mission of Design*Sponge, but I kept coming back to Edna Lewis’ pages featuring Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables with Sage Buttermilk Biscuits. I knew we could not wind down the In the Kitchen With column without having featured Edna Lewis, one of America’s first and finest ambassadors for African-American Southern cuisine.
The greasy, unhealthy stereotype of the cuisine was transformed by her use of fresh produce and vegetables, earning her the title of “Grande Dame of Southern Cooking.” When I think of someone who has had the farthest reaching impact on how we cook and eat everything in the US today, not just Southern cuisine, Edna Lewis tops the list. Though she passed away in 2006, her strong influence continues unabated. —Kristina
Deepi Ahluwalia is a food writer and photographer, and a columnist for Life & Thyme magazine. She has worked with such brands, companies, and publications as American Airlines, Nestlé, JCPenney, the Dallas Morning News, Jacques Torres Chocolate, and Walmart. She holds a degree in pastry arts from the French Culinary Institute. Stef Ferrari is senior editor of Life & Thyme magazine. She is an Emmy-winning, James Beard Foundation Award–nominated producer on the documentary series The Migrant Kitchen, which explores the influence of immigrant culture on America’s foodways. Her recipes have been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Southern Living, and she has appeared on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and Unique Sweets. You can find Deepi on Instagram here, and Stef here.
For a chance to win a copy of A Woman’s Place, respond in the comments section below by April 18, 5PM EST to the following question: Who is your cooking icon and why? We will announce the winner in the comments section, so be sure to check back!
Image above: A Woman’s Place, cover. Illustrations by Jessica Olah.
Image above: Deepi Ahluwalia
Image above: Stef Ferrari
Image above: Edna Lewis preparing signature dishes
- Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken
- 1 medium lemon, quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch wedges
- 2 shallots, quartered
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved, or baby potatoes, quartered
- 4 large carrots, cut into ½-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white wine or sherry
- Sage Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose ﬂour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons ground sage
- 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Make the Herb-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables:
Preheat oven to 500ºF.
Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan greased with olive oil. Stuff lemon quarters and 3 cloves garlic inside cavity of chicken. Coat outside of chicken with melted butter, using hands to rub butter into all crevices. Generously season outside of chicken with half the salt and black pepper, followed by herbes de Provence.
In large mixing bowl, combine remaining garlic (3 cloves) with fennel bulbs, shallots, potatoes, and carrots. Pour olive oil over vegetables and thoroughly mix until all ingredients are coated with oil. Transfer vegetables to roasting pan, arranging them evenly around chicken. Pour white wine or sherry over vegetables and sprinkle with remaining salt (2 teaspoons) and black pepper (½ teaspoon).
Roast chicken for 25 minutes until skin turns golden. Reduce heat to 350ºF. Rotate pan and baste chicken and vegetables with liquid in pan. Continue roasting chicken for 40 more minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Chicken will be fully cooked when internal temperature of thigh reads 165ºF and juices run clear. Vegetables will be fork-tender. Remove pan from oven and cover with tinfoil. Let chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with vegetables.
Make the Sage Buttermilk Biscuits:
Line sheet pan or baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all dry ingredients in bowl and whisk together. Chill mixture in freezer for 5–10 minutes. When dry ingredients are thoroughly cold, dump mixture onto clean work surface. Using dough cutter, pastry cutter, or knife, work quickly to cut cold butter into mixture, until butter is pea-sized. Create [a] well and add buttermilk in two additions, mixing by hand until dough just comes together in shaggy ball. If dough is too wet or dry, add flour or buttermilk in tiny amounts. Don’t knead or overwork dough, as this will create excess gluten and warm up butter. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and pat into ¾-inch-thick square, roughly 7 x 7 inches. Fold dough in half and pat down again to ¾-inch thickness. Repeat until dough has been folded five times. After last fold, pat dough into ¾-inch-thick square. With sharp knife, cut dough into nine squares. Transfer squares to parchment-lined pan and brush tops with melted butter. Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes or fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through, until biscuits are golden brown. Transfer biscuits immediately to wire rack to cool. Pair warm biscuits with Herb-Roasted Chicken or enjoy cooled with a drizzle of honey.