It is snowing…again. And I just don’t want to leave my house, so I started to think about what I have on hand. My pantry (I wish I had one of those…I just have a standard kitchen cabinet) is always stocked with flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. That means I can bake something. I also have plenty of chicken stock on hand and some frozen chicken breasts. Combine this with some frozen veggies, some diced carrots, celery and onion and I guess I am making chicken pot pie tonight.
There is one slight problem — I totally suck at making pie crust. For some reason this basic task eludes me. The pros make it look so simple. Throw together some flour and butter, a pinch of salt and ice-cold water. Let it rest, then roll it out into a perfect pastry, right? Except my pie crust is always way too tough and never cooks completely. Gross!
Instead of wasting flour and butter, I decided I’m making chicken pot pie with biscuits on top. Cheddar biscuits at that! Talk about some comfort food. Biscuit dough is much more forgiving than pie crust. It requires few ingredients and you can add any kind of flavorings you like — herbs, cheese, bacon even. You can make them sweet and/or savory. You can roll and cut them neatly or make them rather rustic like I do in this recipe.
What you need for the pie:
2 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 Cup of frozen peas
1/4 Cup frozen lima beans
1 Tbs flour
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 to 2 Cups of chicken stock
salt and pepper
shredded chicken (you can just poach up 1 or 2 chicken breasts for this) — about 2 Cups
What you need for the biscuits:
1 Cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 Cup of buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just add 1 Tbs of white vinegar to whole milk and let it sit a few minutes to sour your milk)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and have a glass pie pan handy. I like to put the pie pan on a baking sheet to eliminate spillage and burnage in my oven.
Make your chicken pot pie filling first. Melt your butter together with your oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add your diced vegetables (not your frozen veg) and saute until softened (about 7 – 10 minutes). Sprinkle 1 Tbs of flour on the veggies and stir to cook the raw flour until it becomes a nice golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in one cup of your chicken stock until you have a semi-thick sauce. You don’t want it too thick, so add more chicken stock if needed. Add your shredded chicken and your frozen peas & lima beans. At this point, give it a taste to see if it needs salt and pepper.
Bring the sauce to a slow boil, then let it simmer while you work on your biscuit dough.
Add your flour, salt, baking powder, and cheese to a food processor and pulse until combined. Add your pieces of cold butter. You want to make sure your butter is nice and cold. One tip I have is to cut it ahead of time and keep it in a bowl in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Pulse your butter into your flour mixture just until it looks like coarse crumbs.
Fill your prepared pie dish with your chicken and veggie mixture. Place generous tablespoon scoops of the dough on top of your pie mixture and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and the sauce for the pie is thick and bubbly.
If you have extra biscuit dough, bake them on a cookie sheet along with your pot pie. Space biscuits about 2 inches apart and bake them for 15-20 minutes until golden.