June 16, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie, Biscuit Top


I love chicken pot pie. I don't love it when it comes with too many peas, or a leathery, greasy pastry top, but if it has a quality pastry (which hasn't been allowed to get soggy), or better still, a biscuit topping, then it has got to be right up there with my favourite comfort foods.

It's also pretty easy, really. You make a creamy stew with chicken and vegetables of your choice, add the top, and pop it into the oven for a good 25 to 30 minutes on high heat, and voila! What could be better?

Well, I suppose it could be healthier than some of the versions out there, but there's loads of tricks to make the filling lower in fat, and if you use a slightly thinner layer of (lean) biscuit or scone dough over the top, you're setting your setting yourself up nicely to have a guilt-free wallow in a delicious dinner. Or lunch. Or supper. Whatever you want to call it, really.

The biscuit pie methodology works pretty much the same for any filling. Beef stew, chicken stew, vegetable stew - pretty much anything that can take the hit of being in a hot oven for half an hour makes a great biscuit pie. And, if you're the sort of cook who likes convenience and buys packets of biscuits instead of making your own, well, that works too. So really, it's all about the filling.

I like my chicken (or turkey, or pheasant) pies to be creamy, and I like to use kernel corn instead of peas. I also like to have uses for leftover roast chicken, although, to be fair, I have plenty of those already (but another is always welcome). The pie at the top of this post came about after eyeing the recipe in the Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide, which I've posted about before. For example, in my last post, Gyoza Stir-Fry. I've made some minor seasoning changes to suit myself, and of course the use of biscuit instead of puff pastry is not from CTNT's receipe.

Chicken Pot Pie, with a Biscuit Crust
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups pearl onions (recipe calls for frozen, which I couldn't find, so I used fresh)
2 medium carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn kernels
meat from 2 roasted chicken legs with thighs, skinless, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon chicken base (organic Better than Bouillon)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup 1% Milk
1/4 cup half & half
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Make up the water and chicken base into a hot broth. Rinse corn kernels with hot water, in a sieve, so they drain instantly, and set aside.

Heat the butter in large skillet over med heat. When melted, add the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and mustard seeds, and stir well. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and the flour, using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir well, so that veggies and meat are evenly coated with flour.

Slowly pour the warm broth in, either using whisk to help avoid clumping, or stirring well with your spoon/spatula while you pour. Once the broth is incorporated, and the sauce is smooth, add the milk (does not need to be warmed, but can be) and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Stir in corn. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Mix up your biscuit dough and roll out to fit the top of the casserole dish you will be using. Slice the biscuit into quarters, or leave it as one big sheet (if so, use a fork to poke some steam-release holes).

Heat over to 400 F. Pour chicken into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, and cover with the biscuit dough. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If your casserole is really full, place a tray under to catch any drips, or you will need to spend some of your evening cleaning your oven floor!

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