Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust

4-5 lb chicken, cut into pieces
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 bay leaves
Poultry herbs like parsley, sage, & thyme - be generous
2 onions
4 carrots
4 celery stalks
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Biscuit Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream

You'll also need at least 2 large bowls & a large stockpot or dutch oven.

This is a wonderful meal to start making around Noon for an early dinner on a rainy, cold afternoon. It's labour intensive but very satisfying!

  • Cut up and generously season your chicken with salt and pepper. 
  • In a large (at least 6 qt) heavy stockpot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add your chicken pieces and brown for about 5 minutes on each side. 
  • Roughly chop 1 small onion (skin on), 2 carrots, & 2 celery stalks (leaves on). Add to pot along with bay leaves and poultry herbs, stems and all (if using). 
  • Top with 8 cups of water, and cover the pot. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium and bring to a boil. 
  • Once the pot reaches a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer and let it bubble slow and low for an hour to an hour and a half.
  • Remove pot from heat.  
  • Using a large colander fitted inside a larger bowl, strain out the stock. 
  • Measure out 6 cups of stock and keep any remaining for another use***
  • Set aside.
  • Let the chicken pieces cool for about 30 minutes or until you can handle them. 
  • Remove the bones and skin from the chicken and discard.
  • You can either discard the boiled veggies & herbs or combine*** with left over stock as above.  Run these through a food processor or blender and freeze to make a soup another day.
  • Pull the chicken meat into bite sized shreds and be careful to find and remove any remaining small bones. Place the pulled chicken in a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe your pot semi-clean ~ just make sure there’s nothing in there you don’t want in the finished meal. 
  • Dice the large onion, and cut your remaining carrots and celery into small pieces.  
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and add your chopped vegetables. Season with salt & pepper and cook until onions and celery are translucent and carrots are completely tender. 
  • Transfer to the bowl with the pulled chicken.
  • Back in your pot, melt the butter and whisk in flour. Cook until the flour just barely starts to brown. Slowly whisk in about half a cup of stock, making sure there are no lumps of roux. Repeat two or three times more before adding remaining stock.  Whisk out any lumps and bring to a boil, whisking regularly. When the gravy is well thickened, remove from heat, taste and adjust your seasoning if necessary. 
  • Add the chicken, cooked vegetables, frozen peas, & chopped parsley. Set aside. 
  • If the pot you’re using is oven safe you can bake your pot pie in it, or you can transfer to an oven safe bowl for a nicer presentation.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, & salt.  
  • Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. Form a well in the centre of the bowl and add in milk, cream & sour cream.  
  • Use a fork to stir until just moistened. Do not over mix.
  • Turn the dough out onto a counter and pat dough to 1/2 of an inch in the form of your pot or oven safe bowl.
  • Transfer your biscuit round to the top of your filling.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. 
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a nice chunk of crust.