Saturdays are a day of “rest”- meaning I don’t leave the apartment much. Maybe for a run, maybe for a meal out, but otherwise I hole up and do my school work in my pajamas.
I also tend to make a lot of food. For instance, last weekend, after a few glasses of wine, I found myself making croissants at ten o’clock at night and first thing sunday morning. I also made Naan bread, and another loaf of sourdough bread.
I guess I’m a foodie?
Well today wasn’t much different (but no wine… yet).
After a little bit of homework, my fridge began calling me. Not to eat, but to use up a few ingredients I had left over from the week, including a LOT of scrap chicken meat from making sandwiches in class on Thursday.
Friday night, I had made a Remouillage from the bones of the chickens (they’d already been cooked, so it wasn’t the most flavourful stock, but it will certainly do), as I needed stock for sunday’s project. Do you see a theme happening here?
I’ve been craving Pot Pie for a while (as well as meatloaf- which I also made friday night, but it’s not the prettiest thing, so it isn’t on here), so after a VERY quick look on pinterest at other pot pie recipes, I got the gist of what I wanted to do, and raided the fridge.
Out came Broccoli, carrots, leek, onion, garlic, chicken, stock, milk- Cheese?
What was originally going to be a classic pot pie, pie crust and all, became a delicious casserole that I’m having a hard time leaving alone as I write this. And what better way to top off a kitchen-sink comfort-food dish than with cheesy cornbread biscuits? Oh yes, it’s a dream coming true now, and it didn’t take much time, besides cutting the veg up a bit and getting the biscuits together.
Below is the recipe (roughly) that I used to create this stupidly delicious and simple dish. You don’t need to use the vegetables I used either. Normally pot pie comes with corn and peas, but as I almost never have these in my freezer/fridge/pantry, I used whatever I wanted. It would be amazing to try this style of recipe with beef and beets, something SO dark could be very interesting, contrasting with maybe a sweet potato biscuit? Oh my mind is rolling again. Here’s the recipe!
Chicken Pot Pie with Cheesy Cornbread Biscuits
- 1 leek, cleaned and diced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and pureed
- 4 small carrots, peeled and paysanne cut
- 1 head broccoli, florets diced small and the stem peeled and diced as well
- 1 pound of cooked chicken (the more the better!), shredded
- 1/3 Cup bread flour (or All purpose)
- 1 1/4 Cup Chicken Stock, cold
- 2/3 Cup Milk
- 1 tsp dried Thyme
- 1 tsp salt
For the biscuits:
- 90g Buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just measure out regular milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar to get it to curdle a little)
- 47g Molasses (because I didn’t have Honey on hand, which can be used, or you can use Maple Syrup)
- 1 egg
- 100g Bread Flour
- 100g Pastry Flour
- 60g Cornmeal
- 3g salt
- 12g Baking Powder
- 63g Cold Butter
- 100g shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
First, get your pot pie going. Oil a large pan and put it over medium heat. Get all your veggies cut up and ready to go, trying to keep them all about the same size. If you have frozen vegetables you want to use, like peas and corn, they only need to be warmed through near the end, so save them for now.
I started with frying up the onion in the pan until they were translucent. Then I added my “hard” vegetables to get them cooked through. This included the carrots and the broccoli stems, since they’re a bit tougher. When they started getting a little softer, I added the rest of the vegetables in. I let that cook for a while uncovered, getting together my ingredients for the biscuits. Once everything was al dente, I seasoned with the Thyme, salt and pepper, and threw in the scrap chicken from class.
Now the fun part.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix it in really well. Everything will get a bit sticky. At this point you start adding in the stock a bit at a time, stirring well to keep anything from clumping. Once all your stock is in, do the same for the milk. This is a little bit like making a roux, sans butter, and not really the BEST way since you’ve got all your vegetables in there. If you wanted, you could make the roux/sauce in another pot, but you’ll need to grab some butter for that. I didn’t do that, and this worked out just fine, no clumps or anything. The white sauce that results from this is creamy and keeps all those delicious chicken and vegetable bits together.
Cook this mixture for a few minutes until everything is nice and stuck together, then remove from the heat. Get out a casserole dish (mine is a nice ceramic white one) and pour the mix in. I didn’t need butter for mine, but if your dish is a bit older and has seen better days, feel free to butter it. It’s butter-you can’t go wrong!
Now that that’s all done and out of the way, let’s get the biscuits ready!
Preheat the oven to 390 F. Keeping the grated cheese and butter aside, sift and mix all your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. If you had to add vinegar to milk for “buttermilk”, do it first and let it sit a while.
There are a couple of ways to do this next step. You have to get the butter into the dry ingredients, while keeping it cold and in pea-sized chunks. You can do this with a pastry cutter, a couple of knives, your finger tips (if you have cold hands!), or the way I did it- grating it in with a cheese grater. You are going to use the grater anyway!
Grate some of the butter into the flour, tossing the flour around it, and continue until the butter is all in there. Then grate your cheese in (Yes, it’s a lot of cheese!) in the same method.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix. it will be very stiff and dry at first, so you’ll have to get your hands in there. Mash it up a bit, and when it starts to come together, give it a very brief knead or two before flatting it out on a floured surface. At this point, you can use a cutter to get perfect little rounds, or you can do what I did and just grab chunks off the dough ball and form your biscuits with your hands. One trick my mother taught me yields lovely, flakey layers though. Roll out your dough until it’s about an inch thick. Then fold it over and roll it out again. You can even fold it AGAIN. This way you get layers much like a puff pastry. Then get your cutter out and make your biscuits.
At this point, all you do is drop your biscuits on top of the chicken and vegetable mix in the casserole dish, and when it’s all covered, pop it in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are a nice golden brown. Don’t worry if you put your biscuits on and you see space between them. As they bake, they will spread and rise up nicely.
Once it’s done, let it cool down a bit before diving in. It’s so hard to resist, and is SUCH a great comfort food. It doesn’t take all that much prep time, but if it’s more than you’re used to, you will be rewarded for your efforts, and just in time for autumn! This would be a great dish for using up leftovers after Thanksgiving too, using turkey as an easy swap for the chicken, and maybe even dollops of cranberry sauce between the biscuits once they’re cooked for a one-dish feast!