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Chicken ‘n’ Biscuit Pot Pie

January 26, 2011


Comfort food is always good no matter what, right?  Wrong.  To me, there’s something about comfort food where it’s only really good if  a. you make it yourself (and share it with others, of course b. the person who made it is someone you know pretty well i.e. family, friends, etc. or c. you get it at a really nice restaurant where it was hopefully made by some hunky chef.   Otherwise, it’s just not the same.

I like to associate the food with the person who made it.  If I eat Italian food, it’s best when prepared by someone whose roots are deep in the Italian culture, the secrets of that food passed down to them for generations.  The same concept goes for all international food.  So shouldn’t I find comfort in the person who makes my comfort food?  Their presence is somehow imbedded deep down in that dish after all and I don’t want a stranger’s soul sliding down my gullet.

That’s why I don’t particularly find comfort in anything resembling a casserole, or a stew of sorts, or anything really creamy and rich while I’m at school.  And it’s because all I can imagine, as the hot food touches my lips, are the grisly hands of the aged, mustached, food service ladies at the dining hall putting this dish together.  Comfort food is like a warm hug and I don’t think I’d be up for a hug from them on any occasion.  So the hearty winter dishes are saved for the days at the homestead where their comforting powers can be at their full force, making up for all the days I miss them while at school.

So last time I came home, I decided it was just about the right time for some chicken pot pie lovin’.  And as much as I love those frozen ones that you stick in the oven for a hour, gelatinous gravy goop, soggy bottom crust, and everything, I went ahead and made it from scratch.  Actually, it wasn’t really a chicken pot pie, but more like pot pie filling covered with biscuits, but was glorious nonetheless.  Each step of its production just added to the comfort factor.  The chicken softly sizzled in the pan and the smell of softening veggies perfumed the whole house.  Stirring the filling mixture and watching it thicken into silky gravy mere seconds after I added the flour was enough to warm me even in our tundra of a house.  And finally, after spreading the biscuit dough over top with my hands, I could hardly contain my excitement and impatiently hovered around the oven, waiting for it to bake.

The biscuits were really soft and moist, with just enough crispiness on the outside and the filling was rich and thick, creating an illusion of something really unhealthy.  But in truth, it was not nearly as sinful as it tasted.  I very slightly adapted Ellie Krieger’s recipe (she’s the Food network nutrition guru), one that is loaded with vegetables, low in fat, and full of protein.  Because it was the “healthy version” though, there wasn’t quite as much biscuit as I would have hoped for, but next time I can easily just double that, no big deal.  note: the recipe provided is the less-biscuity original.  She also used whole wheat flour…I didn’t.  Don’t judge.

Chicken ‘n’ Biscuit Pot Pie

For the filling:

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless  chicken breast, cut into ½ inch chunks
olive oil (for cooking)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
½ green beans (fresh or frozen) in 2 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups lowfat milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme

For the biscuits:

¾  cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 Tbs. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
½ lowfat buttermilk

First preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large, shallow casserole dish with butter or oil.  Then start preparing the filling.  Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper.  In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over a medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook for around 5 minutes, until the outside starts to brown.  If they are not cooked through, that’s okay.  They’ll finish in the oven.  Transfer the chicken and it’s juices to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add two more teaspoons of oil over medium-high and add the onion, carrots, and celery.  Cook for about 3 minutes, until softened.  Add the green beans, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the milk and stir.  In a measuring cup, whisk the chicken broth and the flour together until there are no lumps and add this to the pan as well.  Stir until the mixture come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for two more minutes.

Return the chicken, and its juices, to the pan along with the peas and the thyme and stir.  By now the mixture should be creamy and thick.  If not, continue cooking and stirring until it is.  Add a final touch of salt and pepper and pour everything into the casserole dish.

Now prepare the biscuit topping.  In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the cubes of butter and pulse about 15 times until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add the buttermilk and the oil and pulse until everything is just combined.  Give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula just to make sure it’s fully mixed.

Drom the batter on top of the filling in six mounds and use your fingers to spread it out evenly.  Bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately while the biscuits are still crisp and flaky.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 7:29 pm

    This biscuit pot pie looks so amazing. Comfort food at it’s finest!

    • January 26, 2011 7:57 pm

      Thanks ann! Your skillet lasagna looks really amazing too…I’ll have to give that one a try soon 🙂

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