February 15, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

chicken pot pie with biscuit "crust"


Comfort food is home cooking.  It is used when speaking about food that smells delicious, has enough fat and carbohydrate content to satisfy the palate and is pleasantly filling.  Comfort food gives a sense of well being.  My comfort foods are associated with my childhood and linked to specific memories.  As a small child eating Swanson's frozen chicken pot pies was a real treat.  I can remember the excitement of my mom or dad cooking those pot pies.  My parents did not buy too much from the freezer section but sometimes we had a t.v. dinner, and I remember pulling back the metal top and the little square of dessert, but those don't trigger the same feeling as pot pies.  I remember when the pot pies had both a bottom and a top crust then they changed to only the top crust and that was disappointing.  I grew up and didn't think much of pot pie until a trip to Disneyland and eating at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street and my son ordered chicken pot pie.  His dish brought back a lot of memories and I decided to make it.  I like pot pie not only because it is filling and comforting but I also appreciate the economy of it.  If I have a lot of left over chicken, I make it.  

I have made pot pie with a top and bottom crust but I prefer the biscuits to add that extra layer of home cooking.  The biscuits remind me of dumplings at the bottom and biscuits on top. 

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits
2 to 3 pounds precooked chicken cubed (I use leftover chicken from grilled chicken breasts to leftover roasted chicken)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion , chopped fine
2 medium carrots , peeled and cut into sticks and then across to create squares 1/4-inch thick
2 small ribs celery , cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
2 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dry white or red wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup frozen peas , thawed
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Adjust oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Set a large pot or a dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil.  
Add onions, carrots, and celery; sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. 
Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for about 1 minute
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Add butter and melt (the vegetables are still in the pot)
Add flour and stir together until a paste forms the cook for 1 minute.
Stir in wine working up any bits on the bottom.
Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer on low until thickened.
Stir in the cream and bay leaf.
Add the chicken and heat through.
Add peas and parsley.
Make biscuits - see below.
Pour into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
Place biscuits on top of the hot chicken mixture and place in the oven.
Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.

makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons of cold butter cut into 1 inch or so cubes
3/4 cup of milk

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add the ice cold butter cubes to the flour mixture making sure they are not clumped together.

Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives until you have about large pea size pieces - it is important not to over do this.

Stir in the milk until the ingredients just come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 1 or 2 times until the shaggy dough comes together. Pat into a rectangle and fold edges into each other, turn dough and fold again (folding this way allows for a flakier biscuit).  Pat out until about 1/2 inch or so high. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass dipped into flour.




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