The first time I looked through Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger, the Chicken and Biscuit Potpie recipe stood out as one of the more enticing ones. So when I decided to work my way through this cookbook in 2014, I was especially eager to whip up this potpie.
I planned this recipe for our Sunday evening supper before MLK Day. John and I both have the holiday off from work, so I knew I would not be feeling my usual night-before-work pressure to get in and get out of the kitchen. I could tell just from reading through the recipe ahead of time that it would be a time-consuming one, and this turned out to be the case. There are vegetables and herbs to chop, chicken to dice, and a biscuit crust to make from scratch. In addition, the potpie filling is first cooked in stages on the stove before being baked in the oven. I was glad I had on my comfy house-shoes while making this recipe, as I was up on my feet for over an hour before I finally slid the casserole dish into the oven.
Another reason that I was excited to try this recipe was because it finally forced me to use my 7-cup KitchenAid food processor for the first time since I purchased it over five years ago. I had been inexplicably intimidated by this slicing and dicing machine, so it had sat for years unpacked in my closet. When John and I moved into our current house after getting married, I finally opened the box and removed the food processor. Then it sat in the bottom of one of our kitchen cabinets for a year and a half. Until last night, that is! I dug out the manual, washed the various parts, and set it to whirling to make the biscuit crust. It was easy and straightforward, and I feel silly about the whole thing.
In contrast to my enthusiasm, I was a little nervous ahead of time about what my husband would think of this recipe. It calls for celery and fresh thyme, two ingredients that he has often professed not to be his favorites. Yet I wanted to try this recipe as written, so I kept in the celery and thyme. It was a night of firsts all around, as I not only used my food processor for the first time, but I also worked with fresh thyme, something else I had never done before. I loved the smell of the thyme as I removed the leaves from the stems, although I found the overall leaf-removal process to be somewhat of a pain.
Despite all of the time and effort, this recipe earned a solid 4 stars. The vegetable-chicken-cream filling was spot-on: flavorful but not too rich. John wished for more of the biscuit topping (and frankly, so did I), but the lack of a complete crust is what makes the recipe reasonable, calorie-wise (one generous serving is 10 PointsPlus). The thyme and celery did not impede John’s enjoyment of the recipe, so next time I would make it the same way again (perhaps doubling the biscuit topping if I’m feeling indulgent). This potpie is comfort food at its best. While we ate, John and I exchanged stories of chicken potpies from our childhoods, and I left the dinner table with a warm, happy feeling in both my heart and stomach.
Comfort Food Fix recipes made: 5
Comfort Food Fix recipes still to make: 148
Chicken and Biscuit Potpie
For the filling:
Nonstick cooking spray
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups lowfat (1%) milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
For the biscuit crust:
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup lowfat buttermilk
1. To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large shallow casserole dish, or 6 individual casserole dishes with cooking spray.
2. Season the chicken with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken with its juices to a bowl.
3. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the same pan and heat it over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the green beans, garlic and remaining salt and pepper and cook for 2 minute more. Add the milk. Stir the flour into the broth until it is completely dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes more. Return the chicken with its juices back to the pan. Add the peas and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish or individual dishes.
4. To make the crust: Put the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse about 12 times, or until pebble sized pieces are formed.
5. In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together the buttermilk and oil. Add the buttermilk-oil mixture to the food processor and pulse until just moistened. Do not over mix. Drop the batter in 6 mounds on top of the chicken mixture (1 mound on each individual dish, if using) spreading the batter out slightly. Bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1¾ cups or 1 individual potpie). Per serving, 10 PointsPlus.