In the deep midwinter: Chicken Pot Pie (with a biscuit topping!)

It’s late January, which means that if Winter were my boyfriend, his prized collection of vintage bowling shirts would be powering a bonfire on my lawn RIGHT NOW. No, seriously–I would be scrawling my name in fuchsia lipstick on the bathroom walls of the crazy ex-girlfriend hall of fame, so heated is my temper right now. Because I am DONE. I am over this stupid season. I am sick to the back teeth of darkness and cold. Touch-finish. However, as I have yet to figure out how to bend the weather to my will, I cannot actually make this lumpen season leave me be. And thus, I must make alternate arrangements to keep my spirits up. Sometimes this means whiskey; sometimes a nap. Sometimes, it means ridiculously decadent comfort food.

potpie

This week, I decided to go the latter route, which led me to chicken pot pie. It’s something I’d wanted to make for a long time, but never quite gotten around to. Rich and creamy, it’s about as comforting as comfort food gets; it’s also remarkably forgiving, and an excellent way to use up the leftover bits and pieces of vegetable matter you probably have lurking in your fridge. For the meat, I convinced Bench to roast up a few chickens while I was at work;  should your remarkably helpful flatmate not work at home, you can cook and prep the chicken a few days ahead of time.

potpie1

The real trick to this particular pot pie is, however, not the filling (delicious as it is, heady with thyme and white wine and butter), but the topping: rather than binding it in a pie crust, this pie is topped with fresh biscuits. Which, upon reflection, probably makes it a cobbler as opposed to a pie. Either way, it is delicious–and will be even more so when I stumble upon the Ultimate Biscuit Recipe (these are good, but not quite what I want them to be). Until that day, it is still a treat–the biscuits start to sop up the filling before you’ve gotten it to your plate, rendering the whole business a savory, gooey, bready mess; soft and delicious and comforting.

It really is the perfect Winter warmer. I mean, unless you have a lawn, a bunch of kerosene, and a whole lot of bowling shirts.

Chicken Pot Pie

2-3 medium-sized potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
8 oz mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2-3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
3-4 medium-sized carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped

Meat from one roast chicken

Butter (1 tbsp + 3 tbsp)
2c milk
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp thyme
1 tsp dry mustard

white wine

For the biscuits:
2 c flour
1/2c milk
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp  butter
2 eggs

  1. Preheat your oven to 425.
  2. In a large skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter and saute your vegetables over medium heat until they’re nice and soft. Recommended order: carrots/celery/onion; potato; corn; mushrooms. If the potatoes are recalcitrant, I’ll cover the pot and steam things for a bit (if things are a bit dry, I’ll use some white wine). Stir in the thyme. Set the veg mix aside.
  3. Make your roux: melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat in the same large skillet; add the flour and whisk like crazy until it’s a nice paste consistency; keep cooking until it’s nice and brown. Then, add the milk. keep whisking. Add about a cup of wine; cook it down until it’s the consistency of buttermilk.
  4. Add the vegetables back to the skillet; also add the chicken. Stir and set aside.
  5. Make the biscuits: whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; using your hands (or a food processor), rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the eggs and milk. Add a bit more flour if necessary–the dough has to hold together on its own, and it should be structurally sound enough to knead.
  6. Knead the biscuit dough briefly.
  7. Turn out the vegetable/chicken mixture into a casserole dish; top with dollops of biscuit. Bake for 18 minutes or so.
In baking, chicken, poultry

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