Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie & Cheddar Biscuits

Really, the chicken pot pie is just a vehicle for biscuits.

I've been wanting to make biscuits or dumplings for DAYS. A week or so ago Jody made slow-cooked corned beef, and although I've never been a fan of corned beef I assured him I would try it. The pink colour put me off a bit, but it tasted all right - the trouble was, it tasted like meat that ought to be in a stew. We wanted to make stew with the leftovers but our week was far too busy and it didn't happen.

So tonight I was looking for something to make with the organic chicken thighs I'd picked up, and trolled around Everybody Likes Sandwiches, and ELS lured me with talk of a chicken pot pie topped with cheddar-infused biscuits.

How thrilling to find a casserole dish that combined chicken with biscuits! How serendipitous! I have never attempted anything like it before, but isn't it reassuring to know that, if you follow the directions of someone who's done this before, it will (more or less) turn out? That's something I love about being in the kitchen - there's always a certain amount of risk, but more often than not, the reward is great.

In this case, the reward was biscuits and a healthy-tasting melange of vegetables and chicken. ELS's recipe has you use leftover chicken, and I agree that this would be ideal - as it added a lot of time onto my kitchen bumblings to cook the chicken. I let it cool while other things were cooking, and although it worked, this recipe is more suited to using up leftovers.

I often try to reword when I lift directions from someone else's blog, but in this case there wasn't much to change, so I hope I'm forgiven. ELS is run by a Vancouverite known as Kickpleat who is part cook, part graphic designer. Go on over to her site and poke around if you haven't already. There's a vegetarian rice bowl over there that's always welcome on my table.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits

Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Serves 2-4

1 small rutabaga, peeled & diced
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 t red chili flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried oregano
2 c mushrooms, halved or quartered
3 T flour
1 c mushroom broth
1 c frozen corn
2 c leftover chicken, chopped
salt & pepper

for biscuit topping:
2 c flour, plus more for work surface
2 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
salt & pepper
6 T cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 c yogurt
1/4 c milk
3/4 c shredded old cheddar cheese

1. In a medium sized saucepan, boil rutabaga until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, add oil to heavy cast iron pot and saute onion, garlic and chili over medium heat until shiny. Add celery, thyme, oregano and mushrooms and saute until soft. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and stir until flour cooks, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, add corn, rutabaga and chicken and simmer until broth thickens, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

3. Preheat oven to 450°. Make topping by whisking together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. Cut in butter with a pastry knife until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized lumps. Add yogurt, milk and cheese and stir until just combined. With floured hands, knead dough against the side of the bowl until the mixture holds together. If it’s sticky, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour.

4. Drop small mounds of topping over chicken mixture and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Julia's Notes:

As usual, I improvised. I forgot to pick up plain yogurt at the store but I have this awesome-tasting plain one swirled through with passionfruit - so I tried to avoid the fruity goodness when I scooped out a few tablespoons, telling myself that passionfruit and chicken was not a bad combination if my scooping wasn't precise. This is so unlike the old me, who would have fussed about not having the right ingredients.

Jody and I ate half of the dish, so my best guess is that this would serve 2-4 people, but it's the kind of dish you can stretch depending on how many veggies & the amount of chicken you use. Just be sure to keep the amount of liquid in mind. Speaking of liquid, I used chicken stock instead of mushroom, because it's what I had.

I had carrots so I boiled them with the same water once the rutabaga was done. (Here in Australia, it's called a swede!) I had mixed frozen peas & corn. And because I was starting from fresh, boneless-skinless thighs, I cooked them in the frypan first, then used the pan again - without washing all the goodness out of it - to saute the onions, garlic paste and red chilli flakes. I am so much less afraid of chilli flakes now! So, all in all, I used one pot to boil veggies, one large saucepan, one bowl to stir the biscuits, and a pyrex to hold the cooked chicken and, later, house the whole meal while it was in the oven. Not too many dishes, really. Though it does make me want to get one of those casserole dishes with a lid that can go from stovetop to oven.

Whew! It's been a bit of a rough start this week, and playing about in the kitchen - with biscuits to show for it - has done wonders for my mood. Also, I served tonight's meal with a New Zealand 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Te Henga. Fruity, but a nice match for the lightly spiced chicken pot pie.


  1. Hehe at chicken pot pie is just a vehicle for biscuits. I sometimes look at some foods like that :P

  2. So glad you tried this recipe out. It's one I always go back to whenever I have leftovers, but cooking up thighs for this sounds perfect too.

  3. Hee hee -- I made the biscuits yesterday for brunch and just baked them by themselves.
    Kickpleat, I have really been enjoying some of your recipes - I know I'll be back!

  4. This looks very yum Julia, thanks for sharing it!