17 Classic Recipes for Your Repertoire

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne

Here are the classic recipes that every cook should know how to make well, from juicy roast chicken to rich beef stew.

01 of 17

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine
© Abby Hocking

Crisp bacon bits, Gruyere cheese and sour cream flavor the rich and creamy classic quiche, which is encased in a flaky butter-based crust. The secret to this quiche's super-silky texture is the small amount of sour cream in this recipe whisked into the eggs. A flaky tart dough gives it a buttery flavor base that marries with the tender bacon-infused egg custard. Be sure to use pie weights or baking beans when you blind-bake the crust, so it holds its shape and doesn't shrink in the oven.

02 of 17

Bouillabaisse

ludo-lefebvre-bouillabaisse-0319.jpg
Chloe Crespi Photography

Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s bouillabaisse starts with a quick-cooking, but deeply flavored, seafood broth. Layering a base of aromatics with fresh snapper, scallops, shrimp, and a mix of Pernod and dry white wine creates a long-simmered flavor in under an hour. Be sure to use shell-on shrimp; those shells add flavor and body to the stock. 

03 of 17

Roast Chicken with Aromatic Jus

Roast Chicken with Aromatic Jus
© Dana Gallagher

Everybody should memorize a perfect roast chicken recipe, and this one by Melissa Rubel Jacobson is our favorite.

04 of 17

Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragù

Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragù
© Dave Lauridsen

Richard Betts is an avid mushroom forager, saying: "Mushrooms are a great expression of terroir, just like wine is." Using a recipe from Jennifer Biesty, a contestant on Top Chef, he sautés them with garlic to top his plump, intensely potatoey gnocchi.

05 of 17

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette.
© Greg DuPree

Grape tomatoes sautéed with capers, shallot, and cumin form a bright, chunky sauce for seared salmon. This recipe is from Ted Allen's cookbook, The Food You Want to Eat.

06 of 17

Herb and Shallot Potato Gratin

Healthy Potato Gratin with Herbs
© Jonny Valiant

Inspired by a potato gratin at Restaurant Daniel in New York City, this gratin achieves a creamy texture without any dairy, and gets great flavor from thyme and rosemary.

07 of 17

Honey-Tamarind Baby Back Ribs

Honey-Tamarind Baby Back Ribs
© Quentin Bacon

Naturally tart tamarind keeps the honey-based barbecue sauce from becoming too sweet for the luscious, slow-cooked ribs. Opt for dark, runny tamarind concentrate instead of tamarind pulp, which needs to be soaked and strained before using; it's available at Asian markets.

08 of 17

Cassoulet with Duck Confit

Cassoulet with Duck Confit
© Cedric Angeles

Chef Laurence Jossel created this stripped-down version of the classic French stew, with creamy white beans, luscious store-bought duck confit, smoky French garlic sausage and slab bacon. Letting the beans rest overnight develops their flavors.

09 of 17

Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus

Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus
© Fredrika Stjärne

Chef David Mawhinny serves this tender braised leg of lamb at dinner parties. He makes focaccia sandwiches with the leftovers.

10 of 17

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
© Stephanie Foley

From one deeply flavorful chicken broth, Grace Parisi creates four exceptional soups. Chicken noodle is a classic comfort food, warming in the winter and soothing for some.

11 of 17

Slow-Roasted Pork Loin with Molasses and Balsamic Glaze

Slow-Roasted Pork Loin with Molasses and Balsamic Glaze. Photo © Petrina Tinslay
© Petrina Tinslay

Scott Conant says this recipe is a perfect reflection of his heritage: The molasses harks back to his father's New England background, and the balsamic vinegar is a tribute to his mother's Italian roots. The marinade is a syrupy glaze that Conant slathers over the pork so it can soak up the flavor before roasting.

12 of 17

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

Courtesy of Tom Hopkins and the family of Jacques Pépin

For this classic beef stew, Jacques Pépin uses a special piece of the shoulder called the flatiron steak. This long, narrow piece is extremely lean, tender, and moist, and it makes an ideal stew. He does not use stock, demiglace, or even water. He makes his stew strictly with a robust red wine. This is a fantastic winter dish.

13 of 17

Classic Cheeseburgers

Classic Cheeseburgers
Dennis Prescott

Dennis Prescott says, "There’s just something magical about that handheld goodness that makes us instantly happier. When I started cooking, a juicy, cooked-to-perfection burger was on my top‑10 list of things to ace. This recipe is for a classic, diner-style burger with all my favorite toppings. Adding a mustard layer to the beef before frying creates the most delicious crust — you’ll be an immediate convert."

14 of 17

French Rolled Omelet

French Rolled Omelet
Jennifer Causey

Eggs are the perfect, and cheapest, way to teach proper cooking technique. There’s cracking the eggs correctly; having a place to toss the shells; the best tool used to beat them; the type and quantity of seasoning added before, during, and after cooking; how to heat a pan; when to add the fat; all the visual, aural, aromatic clues of coagulating protein; the essentials of proper presentation; and on and on and on. Cooks are often asked to cook an omelet when they stage at restaurants, and Mary-Frances Heck shares her recipe that's passed the test.

15 of 17

Classic Shrimp Scampi

Classic Shrimp Scampi

© Lucy Schaeffer

Classic shrimp scampi showcases garlic, butter, and lemon flavors. Serve this one immediately with baguette slices and lemon wedges.

16 of 17

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken

Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
© Fredrika Stjärne

Chef Tyler Florence of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco gets as much crispiness as possible when roasting chicken by spatchcocking, or butterflying — removing the backbone and flattening the bird so that more of the skin is exposed to direct heat.

17 of 17

Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs

Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs
© Fredrika Stjärne

Designer and blogger Athena Calderone often makes this whole roast fish for her family on Christmas Day — it makes a dramatic centerpiece for a holiday meal. Like the rest of her menu, it tastes fresh and bright, thanks to a double hit of herbs.

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