Monday, 30 September 2013

Chicken Pot Pie, Only Better

We have had a lot going on over here for the past couple of months and unfortunately this blog of mine has suffered for it.  But I'm back now and I thought that since autumn is officially upon us, it was time for some cozy meals.

When I had my first child, one of my go to meals was chicken pot pie.  I never made it myself, I would go down to the very expensive natural food store and buy one to take home and heat up.  It was a perfect combination of new mother exhaustion and not feeling confident enough to make it myself.  That all changed a couple of years ago when I had the revelation that you didn't need to make a full pastry to make a good pot pie.  I also realized that this classic dish was a perfect way to use up left over chicken.  Now I have  few versions of this meal that I make, but this latest one with biscuits on top has to be my favorite.  It may look like a lot of work, but it really isn't and once you sit down to a steaming bowl of it on a cold autumn day you will realize that it was worth the effort and then some.  This is also a perfect meal if you are watching your pennies.  It falls into my "something out of nothing" repertoire, hopefully it will become part of yours too.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler
Adapted from Back in the Day Bakery by Cheryl and Griffin Day

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
3 peeled carrots cut into 1 inch cubes
3 celery ribs chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 cups leftover chicken or you can get one of the roasted ones from the grocery store
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fresh sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Boarding House Biscuits
Adapted from Back to the Table by Art Smith

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk as needed

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the mixture until you get a pea meal consistency.  Stir in enough buttermilk to make a soft and sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it out until the dough is about about 1/2 inch thick.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the rounds and put to the side until you are ready to place on top of the pie insides (uncooked).


For the Pie Insides

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450℉.

To make the pie insides, melt 4 Tbsp of the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender.  Add the carrots, celery, salt, pepper and broth.  Partially cover the pot, reduce to a simmer, stirring often.

Stir in the cream, raise the heat to medium and cook, covered until the veg is tender. 

While that is cooking, mix your remaining butter with the flour to create a paste.  Once the veg is tender, add the flour and butter mixture to the pot, slowly whisking it in.  This is going to make the pie insides super creamy and thick.  Next add the herbs and cayenne and then the corn and peas to heat through. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the biscuits that have been brushed with buttermilk.  If you forget this step as I did, don't fret, they will still be yummy.  Bake for 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling.  Let this sit for 5 minutes at least before you ladle it out into your waiting bowls.  I love fall.


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