Last week I went through a bunch of fairly recent recipe clippings and made two new meals. The first was Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers (from Cooking Light). Total winner that will end up in our "Family Favorites" recipe book.
The second new recipe of the week was chicken potpies from the January 2007 issue of Sunset. (OK...so some of the clippings weren't as new as others....) There are a few classic American dishes that I've never made:
- Pot Roast (call me crazy, but these intimidate me...what cut of meat? What's the best seasoning? How do I make sure the veggies aren't mushy? Crock pot or a Dutch oven?)
- Ribs (Too much bone and fat and not enough meat. Messy.)
- Chicken Pot Pie (Loved them as a kid, just never tried them.)
- Stew (Really wouldn't know where to start.)
- Home-Made Chicken Noodle Soup. (Would love to make this, but just never have.)
- Potato Salad (This one is easy...I don't like things that are mayonnaise-y or mustard-y.)
Anyway, last week I made my first chicken potpie! It was a bit time consuming...you have the veggies to chop, the chicken to cook and chop, the biscuits to make, and the gravy/sauce to make. It's not a recipe that will end up in one of those "30 minutes To Dinner" type of cookbooks. No, this took some time. Knowing that it would take some time, I doubled the recipe and made some for the freezer. Honestly, if you're going to go to the trouble of making a few potpies, you may as well make a dozen. The extra time is minimal.
Results: Our family thoroughly enjoyed the potpies! I found the biscuit recipe to be a bit more dense than I would have liked. So, when I make these again, I'm going to search for a lighter (maybe a simple drop biscuit?) topping rather than the heavy biscuit blobs called for in this recipe.
Biscuit-Topped Chicken Potpies
Makes: 6-7 individual potpies
Read through the recipe and find a good time to make the biscuit mix. It would be ideal to have a second helper who works on the biscuits while you put together the potpie filling. You can also make them ahead so they're ready to just plop right on the pies and pop in the oven.
Cook and cube:
2 1/2 cups of chicken (white and dark meat)
3 whole carrots
1 stalk celery
1 medium onion
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
12 small cremini or button mushrooms
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp flat leaf parsley
2 tsp fresh sage
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil:
2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
Lower heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.** Drain vegetables, reserving stock; set both aside separately.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan*** melt over medium heat:
4 TB salted butter
Add and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes:
Add and cook 5 minutes:
Add and cook 2 minutes:
5 TB flour
Slowly add, whisking constantly, until combined:
1 C milk
Add and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes:
stock (that you set aside when you drained the veggies)
Season to taste:
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 C frozen sweet peas
Divide filling evenly among 6 or 7 ovenproof containers**** (8 to 10 oz. each), leaving the top 1/4 inch unfilled.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Cheesy Biscuit Topping
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp (or 1/2 TB) baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work in to form a coarse meal, working quickly to keep the butter from warming up and melting into the dough:
5 TB cold unsalted butter, cubed
In a separate bowl, whisk together and add to the flour mixture, stirring gently until a shaggy dough forms:
1/2 C + 2 TB (or 5/8 C) well-shaken buttermilk
Lightly flour a counter, a rolling pin, and your hands. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll out first ball to a 1/4-in. thickness, then use a 2 1/2-in. biscuit cutter to cut into rounds, scraping and rerolling dough as needed. Repeat with second ball.
Place 3 rounds of dough on each potpie, overlapping as necessary (any unused rounds can be baked on their own as biscuits). Brush dough with egg wash, put potpies on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 17 to 22 minutes.
In the end there were some biscuit scraps on the counter. I got lazy and just put the scraps on a pan and cooked them with the potpies!
Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories: 538 (42% from fat)
Fat: 25g (sat 13)
*From start to finish, making these the very first time, it took me about 2 1/2 hours. That's giving time to cook and shred the chicken, wash and chop all the veggies, etc. It always takes longer the first time.
**Don't overcook or your veggies will be mushy.
***5-6 qt. for single recipe; 10-12 qt. for a doubled recipe
****I used 4 Corning Wear small casserole dishes (12 oz.) and a bunch of 8 oz. coffee mugs (oven safe dinnerware). I preferred the sizes from the 8 oz. cups.
I thought this would freeze beautifully but I was woefully wrong! The biscuits held up just fine, but the veggie filling just turned to mush. So, make a single batch and enjoy!
Have a vegetarian in the family?
You can use vegetable broth and put the chicken on the side. Add chicken to the carnivores' containers, and simply leave it out for the vegetarians. For a complete vegetarian potpie, double up on the veggies.