Chicken Pot Pie – The Real Deal

Feb 6th

When it comes to dinnertime, I’m nothing if not practical. I love a dinner that’s all in one bowl, like the turkey pasta bake on this site. You need some whole grain, veggie, lean protein and healthy fats in every meal, if possible. If clean up is just one pan, even better! When one hears the phrase “chicken pot pie”, the health factor is almost never on the radar even though it DOES contain veggies, lean protein, and calcium from the milk! But who really cares about all that, because if you’re ordering/making chicken pot pie, it’s because its insanely comforting and delicious.

This recipe truly manages to be both decadent AND fairly healthy. The filling that is. The filling is thickened by a roux (flour and butter), so skim milk works great and there’s no need for cream. Most of the liquid is actually chicken broth, which is super low calorie. You could make make this filling,  adding more liquid, and it could be a tasty cream of chicken soup! But the biscuit topping is not to be missed; I’ll just put that out there. It’s served in a 9×12 inch pan, so there’s no need to deal with an actual pie crust/pie plate. The filling is thick enough to be eaten with a fork, and the biscuits come out flaky, salty, and tender.

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this meal and the only reason I didn’t go back for a GIANT bowl of seconds was that I had brought this to my friend’s house and I would have been embarrassed. I shall put this meal in the category of “man-catching”. That’s old school, I know, but the way to a man’s heart IS through his stomach. Unfortunately for me, the way of sealing the deal with my husband was buying him a crate of Cliff bars from amazon. Sigh. The man loves his bars.

Chicken Pot Pie – the Real Deal

Serves 4-6

Slightly Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Filling

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 c. chicken broth

1 1/2 tbsp. canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 1/4  tsp. salt, divided *

1/2 tsp. pepper, divided

4 tbsp. butter (1/2 a stick)

1/2 c. flour (all purpose or white whole wheat flour)

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tbsp. dry sherry or cooking sherry (if you don’t have it, just omit)

3/4 c. frozen peas

3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Biscuit Topping

2 c. all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in. pieces

3/4 c. cold buttermilk

 * Divided means the ingredient will be used two different times in the recipe.

1. Begin with biscuit topping. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

2. Cut in butter using pastry blender, two knives, or fingertips. To cut in means to blend the solid fat with the dry ingredients. The finished product should look like coarse cornmeal with some larger chunks the size of peas. If using your hands work quickly as you don’t want the heat from your hands to melt the butter.

3. Stir in buttermilk until the dough gathers into moist clumps.

4. Dump mixture onto floured counter and gently bring the dough together to a rough ball.

5. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 in. to 1/2 in. thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter (or the lid to a jar), cut out biscuit rounds.

6. Place rounds on a floured plate. Cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

8. Place chicken and broth in a soup pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove chicken and SAVE THE BROTH in a large measuring cup or bowl.

9. Add oil to the now empty soup pot/dutch oven and put heat to medium high. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper to veggies. NOTE:  THIS ISN’T THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF SALT AND PEPPER – that’s what divided means.

10. While veggies saute, measure out butter, milk, thyme, and flour. To make things easier on yourself, mix the milk, broth and thyme ahead in a large glass measuring cup or bowl.

11. Also, shred cooked chicken with a fork or chop it to bite sized pieces. Place cut chicken into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

12. Add sauteed veggies to the bowl with the chicken.

13. Add butter to now empty soup pot/dutch oven and melt over medium heat. Add flour and whisk continuously for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want to cook that flour to decrease the grittiness and also to enhance the flavor. It may begin to smell like toast – this is the wheat actually cooking/browning. Good things!

14. Add about 1 c. of your liquids (hence why it’s easy to have all in the same bowl) and whisk continuously. As soon as what you added has been absorbed, add more until all the liquid (milk and broth) as well as thyme has been added. Once it’s all been added, simmer for a minute or two until thickened. If you stop whisking and walk away, there is a decent chance the milk will “catch” on the bottom and burn, changing the whole flavor of your cream sauce. Whisk while scraping the bottom of the pan. 

15. Add remaining salt and pepper (3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper) and taste. If needed, add more salt and pepper. Add sherry and stir.

16. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies in bowl and combine. Add peas and parsley and stir again, gently. The color of these peas is muted because they’re canned peas, not frozen. I have a strange obsession with Del Monte canned peas, in that I could joyfully eat them cold, straight from the can. If you don’t share my obsession, use frozen as the color is much better.

17. Pour mixture into 9×12 in. dish. Remove biscuit rounds from fridge and arrange on top (should be 12, 3 up the short sides and 4 down the long sides).

18. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until biscuits are golden and filling is bubbling.

19. Serve hot!

 

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