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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Comfort Food 2008 - Chicken Pot Pie

Comfort Food. Mmmm... my favorite kind of food (and not fitting into my clothes still attests to this fact). Sigh. Back to the comfort. One of my earliest memories of cooking with my mom is of her making Chicken Pot Pie with biscuits on top. I think I was probably just 6 or 7 at the time because I remember it being in the house that was across from our town's high school.

I can go for a few months without making it, but without fail, the first day there is snow, there is Chicken Pot Pie at our house. Over the years I have had a lot of other versions, but the biscuit topped is my absolute favorite. Pastry crust just isn't enough bread for me. Mine just has simple veggies in it and a homemade gravy and biscuits, so even kids like it.

When I read about this Cook-Off on IMBB being hosted by Garden of Eating I am pretty sure it was snowing here in Utah (after all, we are supposed to have the "Greatest Snow on Earth"). Either way, here is my entry, for what is my absolute favorite comfort food.

How do I like it best? Pretty much, just lots of it... and I love making way too much so that I can have the leftovers for the next couple of days. It always hits the spot and is always satisfying.

Mom's Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
1 can chicken broth
1 cup water
3 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite size pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 can corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp chicken bullion granules or base
1/4 cornstarch
1/4 cold water
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potato pieces in a saucepan and cover well with cold water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until fork tender. Remove to a 2 qt oven proof casserole dish, reserving two cups of the potato water.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine the chicken broth and water and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and add the chicken pieces. Simmer approximately 7 minutes or until cooked through. With slotted spoon, remove the chicken to the casserole dish, reserving the liquid.

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, prepare the biscuits as directed below.

In another medium saucepan place the carrots and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and can of corn with enough water to cover. Bring back to a gentle boil and cook til the carrots are tender but not mushy, approximately 4 minutes more. Drain and add to the casserole dish.

Combine the reserved broth and potato water in a large saucepan. Add the chicken bullion and whisk. Bring to a boil. Combine the 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup cornstarch and stir with fork until well combined. Slowly add the cornstarch slurry into the broth mixture, whisking constantly. Season with the pepper and parsley flakes. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. It should make a thick gravy. Stir enough gravy into the casserole to well coat everything.

*Top with the partially baked biscuits and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (in case of bubbling over). Place the dish into the oven and bake until gravy is bubbly and the biscuits are done and nicely browned, approximately 7 minutes more.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

(Use your favorite biscuit recipe, or this one... when I am short on time I even use the frozen biscuits you can get from the grocery store.)

1/4 cup lard or shortening
2 cups flour
1 level tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the lard/shortening into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in the milk a small bit at a time, adding just enough so that the dough rounds up and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Then with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, or until they are puffed and starting to set. Refer back to the * above.

NOTE: Another shortcut I use when short on time is to add enough of the milk to make the biscuits a drop consistency and replace the shortening with butter to make a drop biscuit topping.



Eve Fox said...

Looks delicious!
So sorry I missed your entry the first time around.

Where do you get the lard for the biscuits? I keep hearing great things about cooking with lard but am not sure where to find it...

Thanks again for participating in the cook-off!

PheMom said...

Thanks to you Eve!

Our local grocery store actually carries the lard. It is usually in the mexican foods section or sometimes even in the meat department. The brand we get here is Manteca. We have a large Hispanic population here though. If you don't where you live you may have to look for a specialty market in your area.

You can use shortening, but for some things I really do like the lard. Especially in something like this where the biscuits are going with something savory. You just don't get the same flavor from shortening, which actually because of trans-fat is probably worse for you than using the lard. Anyway, I love using the lard for pork carnitas too (another comfort food for me). I'll have to make those soon and put the recipe up.


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