Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit-Crumble Top

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is make a meal for my family that takes a while to get there. I do pot roasts, stews, anything that takes a little time and a little more effort than I usually have on a random, run-of-the-mill weeknight. A few weeks ago, in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I found myself in need of some kitchen therapy. I saw this particular recipe pop up on a few of my favorite blogs, and while I already have a favorite chicken pot pie recipe, I figured that Cook's Illustrated and some of my favorite bloggers couldn't be wrong.

The filling is great, but I really liked the topping. The pinch of cayenne sneaks up on you, and I liked how it played up against the Parmesan cheese in the biscuits. As with most CI recipes, it requires a fair amount of prep and work, but it's perfect for a Sunday dinner, or as a pull-out freezer meal. (Though I haven't tried it, comments on blogs have lead me to advise that it's probably best to keep the filling and biscuits stored separately, then top the pot pie before popping it in the oven for baking.) This is perfect comfort food, just in time to stave off that January chill.

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit-Crumble Topping
(Adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, as seen on Cook Like A Champion)

For the filling:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts*
3 c. low sodium chicken broth
2 T. vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, diced small
3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
2 ribs celery, chopped small
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. tomato paste
4 T. butter
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. dried parsley, plus more for serving
1 c. frozen peas

For the topping:

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
6 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. plus 2 T. heavy cream

For the filling, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken broth and chicken, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove chicken to a platter or bowl, and set aside. Pour broth through a mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

Next, prepare the topping. Heat oven to 450* F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, combine butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, then stir in the cream until just combined. At this point, the dough will the shaggy looking. Crumble the dough into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces onto the baking sheet, and bake until fragrant and lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then remove biscuits to a plate and set aside to cool completely.

Getting back to the filling, heat 1 T. oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, approximately 5-7 minutes. As vegetables are cooking shred chicken into bite size pieces.** When the vegetables are just tender, add to the bowl with the shredded chicken and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat till shimmering. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and tomato paste and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir frequently until the mushrooms are well-browned, the liquid has evaporated, and fond begins to form on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the chicken and vegetables.

In the same Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and the milk. scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sauce thickens, and remove pot from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Return chicken and vegetables to the pot, stir in the peas, and mix well. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan and scatter the crumble topping over the filling. Place the pot pie onto a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, until top is lightly browned and filling is bubbling. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve immediately.

**Have you started shredding your chicken in your KA mixer yet? Do it. Do it today. It has seriously changed my life. It takes two minutes and works perfectly every time.

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