The Chicken Pot Pie Death Match is on!
Pot Pie Contestant #1 – Biscuits.
A month or so ago, I asked folks over on the Idiot’s Kitchen Facebook Page if they had any recipe requests. You might remember that the last time I asked for suggestions the result was The Great Meatloaf Project which led to my conversion from meatloaf hater to what I think is the World’s Best Meatloaf made with apples.
This time my friend Nylce quickly fired off a suggestion for Chicken Pot Pie. Good idea!
Then I asked whether the pot pie should have crust, biscuits, or puff pastry as a topping. I was surprised to find that people are very serious about their pot pie toppings with votes being pretty evenly and enthusiastically divided between the three.
Clearly this means that we are going to have to have some sort of Pot Pie Festival to test out the various merits of each topping.
My friend Paul (awesome horn player) suggested that a “Celebrity Pot Pie Death Match” was in order.
This is an idea I can totally embrace. Game on.
Here’s what you need:
Cooked Chicken Breasts, Carrots, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Garlic, Peas, Chives (optional but good), Flour, Butter, Baking Powder, Sherry, Milk, Chicken Broth, Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper (not shown), Salt & Pepper.
*I am using two chicken breasts that I cooked earlier. You could also use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Cooking the chicken is easy plus you can make extra for another meal. Simply place bone in, skin on chicken breasts on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Allow the cooked chicken to cool to make removing it from the bone easier.
One benefit to making pot pies with a biscuit topping is that it cuts down on the preparation time. Biscuits are pretty quick and easy to put together.
Start by sifting 2 1/2 cups of flour with 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder…
and 1 teaspoon salt.
Sifting not only removes any lumps but also helps distribute the baking powder throughout the flour so that the biscuits rise and are nice and fluffy. Don’t skip the sifting.
Cut 1 stick of butter lengthwise into quarters and then horizontally into cubes. Be sure your butter is very cold, right out of the refrigerator.
Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour using a twisting wrist motion.
After a few minutes of “cutting in” you will have little lumps of butter about the size of small peas in the flour.
Chop up 1/4 cup of fresh chives and add them to the flour mixture. You can skip the chives if you don’t have any, but they give a nice little pop of flavor to the biscuits.
Speaking of flavor, add some freshly ground black pepper to the flour.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in 3/4 cup of whole milk.
Stir the dough until it just starts to hold together and all of the flour has been incorporated. The dough will be quite shaggy looking but that’s okay. Do not over stir.
Dump the dough bits out onto a floured work surface and quickly knead the dough about 6-8 times to pull it all together.
Pat the dough out into a circle about 1 inch thick and use a small (1 1/2 inch) round cutter to cut out the biscuits.
If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, use a small glass or clean tin can.
Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Take the scraps of dough and reform it into a smaller circle and continue to cut out biscuits until you’ve used all the dough. The last few biscuits won’t be as pretty as the first but they taste just as good.
I was able to cut out 10 biscuits.
Important Note: If your kitchen is warm, put the biscuits in the refrigerator while you make the filling for the pot pies. The biscuits will be MUCH better if the butter stays cold right up until they go in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
We have a bit of chopping to do for the filling. First, chop one large onion – about 1 1/2 cups.
Peel and chop 4-5 carrots into small dice. I cut the carrots into quarters and then cut across to make small pieces – also about 1 1/2 cups.
Remove the seeds and inner membranes from a red bell pepper, cut it into strips, and then cut into small dice. It is important that all of the vegetables be about the same (small) size so that they will cook quickly and evenly.
Finely chop 1 clove of garlic.
And finely chop 1/2 cup of fresh parsley.
Melt 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) of butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, bell peppers, and garlic and saute until tender but not browned – about 5 minutes.
I like my vegetables to be a bit crunchy in the pot pie. If you want softer veggies, saute them for 10 minutes.
While the vegetables cook, dice up the cooked chicken breasts. Remove the skin and discard, pull the meat away from the bones, then chop it up into bite sized cubes. You’ll have about 3 cups of chicken.
When the vegetables are tender, sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over the top and stir it in to make a roux or thickener for the sauce.
Cook the flour into the vegetables for 1-2 minutes and then add 1/4-1/2 cup of sherry. Sherry is essential to pot pie filling for me. It really adds extraordinary flavor that you don’t get from wine or plain stock.
Add 1 (15 ounce) can of low sodium chicken both and 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. Turn the heat down to medium and stir until you have a thick sauce with no flour lumps.
Add the chopped chicken…
and 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas.
Stir and cook for a few minutes to reheat the chicken and defrost the peas. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon), and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Turn the heat off and add 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings. Pour it into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Try not to eat all the filling with a spoon.
Nestle the biscuits on top of the filling and brush the tops of the biscuits with a little bit of milk to help them brown.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes until bubbly and the biscuits are golden brown.
Stand back and enjoy that you’ve made something so pretty.
The dish it up and dig in.
I foolishly thought that I would only eat one serving with one biscuit. Ha. Seconds were had by all.
If you have leftovers, reheat them in the oven rather than the microwave to keep the biscuits from getting soggy.
I think the pot pie death match may be one of the best ideas ever!
Here’s the recipe: Inspired by Joy the Baker