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Chicken pot pie, perfected

I love love love chicken pot pie, but I was looking for ways to step it up a notch. First, I was never 100% satisfied with the veggies. I usually stick to carrots, celery, and onion, and saute them in butter before making the sauce. Today, I tried roasting them instead in olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. I added mushrooms because roasted mushrooms are delicious. I chose to saute the onions in butter, just because I love sauteed onions. I wasn’t going to add any celery, but I did at the last minute because I found some buried in the veggie drawer and I knew it would go to waste. The roasted veggies added so much to the final product. They were sweeter, softer, and much tastier than veggies that had just been sauteed.

For the chicken, I used leftover shredded brined/butter rubbed chicken from a few weeks back. I used a mixture of dark and white meat that was deliciously juicy and flavorful.

The sauce. Oh the sauce. Probably one of the top five sauces I’ve ever made in my life. Usually I thicken up chicken stock and flavor it nicely. It’s always been great but the other day I saw a recipe for a chicken pot pie with a bechamel sauce. I liked the idea but I wanted to use some of the fabulous crock pot chicken stock I made last week. So I decided to make a veloute, which is equal parts milk and chicken stock thickened by a roux. My secret ingredients? Fresh parsley, thyme, and green onion. And a spoonful of horseradish. Yum! I was going to add cayenne but I forgot. The horseradish was an awesome addition so the heat wasn’t missed. I started by adding the warm milk to the roux and thickened it to a gravy consistency, then added the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time. It took about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce to how I wanted. It wasn’t a soup, but it was thinner than a bechamel or gravy. It was killer, o.m.g.

I call this dish a chicken pot pie, but it’s not a pie at all. I wanted something different on top. I’ve seen chicken pot pies with biscuits baked on top, but I didn’t want to loose a crispy bottom. So I baked my new fave buttermilk drop biscuits mixed with the same herb mixture in a completely different pan. I baked the chicken pot pie in a casserole dish covered in foil for the 20 minutes the biscuits were cooking. I sprinkled the biscuits with smoked sea salt after brushing with melted butter. Perfect! Fluffy, tasty, crunchy on the edges, and the buttermilk tang is awesome.  I was worried the oven being 450-500 degrees would screw up my pot pie liquid but there were no ill effects. The mix was perfectly hot and slightly bubbly.

Chicken Pot Pie (sort of)

Serves 3 (embarrasingly)

For the filling:

  • 1 cup diced carrots (2-3 small carrots)
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms (2 big handfuls)
  • 1/2 diced celery (1 stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken

For the veloute:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk, with a splash of heavy cream if desired
  • 1 heaping tbsp horseradish
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, thyme, and green onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425, with a baking sheet inside (preferably with sides)
  2. Coat carrots, mushrooms, and celery with oil, S&P, and thyme in a bowl.
  3. Put veggies on aluminum foil and place on baking sheet when oven is preheated.
  4. Roast for 20-22 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. While veggies are roasting, preheat skillet to medium high. Add butter and stir until melted and sizzling.
  6. Saute onions in butter for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper in the first minute.
  7. Combine onions, roasted veggies and chicken in a bowl and set aside.
  8. Melt butter in wiped out skillet that was used for the onions.
  9. Whisk flour into the melted butter and cook for two minutes. Don’t stop whisking!
  10. While making the roux, microwave milk for 30 seconds to get it warm.
  11. Slowly pour milk into the roux, whisking continuously. Whisk pretty frequently until the sauce is thickened and passes the back-of-the-spoon test.
  12. Whisk in horseradish and herbs. Season at this time as well.
  13. Slowly add chicken stock to the sauce, 1/2 cup at a time.
  14. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Not as much as a gravy, but it will take about 10 minutes.
  15. Once the sauce is thickened, stir in the veggies and chicken. Pour mixture into casserole dish and bake, covered in foil, for 20 minutes at the same temp at the biscuits. If not making the biscuits, bake the covered dish at 400 for 25-28 minutes.
I got the biscuit recipe from Taste and Tell. It is originally from Cooks Illustrated. Mine aren’t mile high, but they are perfect! They probably would be if I made them touch in the pan. I didn’t want to loose any crunchy edges though. I add 2 tbsp of chopped herbs to my biscuits.

Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits
from Cook’s Illustrated (via Nook and Pantry)

makes 12 biscuits

total time: about 25 minutes

2 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 C buttermilk
Additional flour
2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 500ºF. Spray a 9 in springform or cake pan with some nonstick spray.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix the ingredients together evenly. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the pieces are no bigger than a small pea. Fold in the buttermilk until everything is just blended, and there are no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix, the mixture should still be lumpy.

Line a plate or tray with some flour and using a 1/4 C measuring cup or 1/4 C ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out balls of the dough onto the tray of flour. Flour your hands and roll each ball around in the flour to evenly coat them in a layer of flour. The dough is very wet and very sticky. Place the dough balls into the prepared pan. Place 9 balls around in a ring and 3 balls in the center of the pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.

Bake for 5 minutes at 500ºF (middle rack) and then lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for another 15 minutes.

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