Chicken Pot Pie with Southern-Style Baking Powder Biscuits
On a chilly autumn night, this hearty, flavorful chicken casserole, topped with light and tender biscuits, and served hot and bubbly from the oven, is sure to bring folks to the table. To keep last-minute fuss to a minimum, I prefer to cook the chicken one day ahead, and chill the broth and chicken overnight.
Chicken and Broth
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 quarts water
1 stalk celery with leaves, rinsed
1 carrot, rinsed, peeled, and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove
1 chicken bouillon cube
Early in the day or one day ahead, place all ingredients except the bouillon cube in a stockpot, bring it to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is just tender. Remove the meat, set it aside, add the bouillon cube to the broth, and simmer 1 hour. Discard the vegetables and bay leaf, and set the broth aside, or cool, transfer to a container, cover, and chill overnight.
Pot Pie Mixture
4 cups strained chicken broth
1 cup carrots, rinsed, peeled, and sliced 1/4 thickness
1 cup celery, rinsed and sliced
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed, and cut in 1-inch lengths
3 medium red or Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed, peeled, and cubed in 1-inch size
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
In a stockpot, combine chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, green beans, and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Cook vegetable 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are knife-tender. Strain out the vegetables and set them aside. Pour the broth into a large glass measuring cup or bowl and set it aside. There should be 3 cups of broth remaining.
Over medium heat, melt butter in the stockpot and whisk in flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until the roux is thick, bubbly, and begins to froth. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk, at little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme, and gently stir in the reserved vegetables and cubed chicken. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pot pie filling is hot.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup solid shortening, such as Crisco®
3/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles crumbs. Pour in milk all at once and stir quickly just until the flour mixture is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured counter or pastry cloth, and knead 5 to 6 times until it is smooth. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 2-inch round biscuit cutter.
Spray a 3 qt. casserole with nonstick cooking spray and spoon the hot filling into the casserole. Top with biscuits, leaving 1/2-inch between each one, and bake at 400 degrees 20 - 25 minutes, until the filling is hot and bubbly, and the biscuits have risen and their tops are brown. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings