Wednesday, January 25, 2017

white chicken potpie.

I have a running iPhone list of foods I want to make.  Sometimes these foods remain on the list for the better part of 2 years without still being tackled (I'm looking at you croissants) and other times they last 2 days before being made (tahini chocolate chip cookies).  Some dishes get added to the list because Tyler mentions them offhandedly (which is why I'll be making pierogi's next weekend) and other times its because I stumbled across a recipe that is made up of my favorite things (the best Sicilian pizza).   There is no rhyme or reason to the list and that's why I love it.    

Chicken pot pie somehow made it's way on to the revolving list a couple of months back.   I don't remember what triggered me adding it, but this past weekend, knowing we were heading into several days of cold, rainy, and dreary weather, it felt like the appropriate time to finally make one.  

Chicken pot pie has a lot of variations and people have vastly differing opinions on how it should be prepared.  Should it have both a bottom and top crust?  Are peas cool?   Can you use white and dark meat?  The list goes on.   This version incorporates my favorite things (lots of peas and chicken) under a biscuit like crust.  The resulting dish is full-blown comfort food and the perfect thing to eat this time of year.

*On a not food-related note, call your senators if you are unhappy with how things are going.  I called mine this morning because the climate change changes that have gone into effect the last couple of days leave me feeling queasy.  Do the same if you feel un-happy about something.  There job is to listen to you!

White Chicken Potpie
Recipe adapted from the NYTimes

Ok - I liked this recipe in theory but edited a decent amount.  First off, I wanted to make this a one pan affair so I used my 10 inch cast iron.   You will want to do this to, it will make your life a lot easier.

The initial recipe made a LOT of biscuit topping.  Way more then seemed logical to me.  So I reduced the topping by 1/3 (my edits shown below) and feel this was a more "normal" ratio of biscuit to filling.   

After speaking about chicken potpies with my mama, I decided  to add in some mustard.  I find this to be a welcome addition as the accidity offsets the richness of the dish nicely.   I also made peas mandatory because peas below in a potpie.  

Last but not least, this makes a lot of chicken potpie.  You've been warned.   

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds) or 2 1/4 pounds of chicken parts (I used half chicken so I got a mix of white and dark meat)
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 rosemary sprig
3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), chilled, additional for greasing pan
2 leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk, more as needed (or 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup whole milk)
2 small carrots, peeled and diced (1 1/4 cups)
1 medium potato, peeled and diced (1 1/4 cups)
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk

Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Let rest 15 minutes. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine chicken, stock or water, wine, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook chicken gently until no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate to cool completely. Strain and reserve cooking liquid (you should have about 2 3/4 cups). Once chicken is cool, shred into bite-size pieces.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks and shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Melt in 4 more tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/2 cup flour and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the strained stock and the milk (or milk and cream). Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in celery root or carrot, and potato; simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas if using and mustard.  Remove from heat and set aside.   

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, the baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into cubes; using a pastry cutter or two forks, mix into flour until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk. Dollop mixture on top of potpie filling (it’s O.K. if there are spaces between biscuits). 

Transfer casserole to oven; bake until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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