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Recipe

Chicken pie with biscuit topping

(food styling/karoline boehm goodnick; Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
By Christine Merlo
December 22, 2008
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Serves 6

House guests and unpredictable meal times require nourishing one-pot suppers. This savory chicken pie begins with poached or roasted chicken thighs - though leftover turkey works just as well. Use a large skillet to cook carrots, onions, and celery; take them out and in the same skillet make a simple sauce based on chicken stock. Return the vegetables to the pan with the chicken, add peas, and you have an effortless filling. Make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until you're ready to assemble the dish. For the top, stir together a baking powder biscuit dough with fresh thyme until the mixture is still slightly wet. Then spoon it onto the filling, spread it into a crust, dot with butter, and bake until golden. When everyone gathers at the end of the day, home from errands and chores, the house will be warm with the aromas of a time gone by.

FILLING

3 1/2cups chicken stock
8chicken thighs
Salt and pepper, to taste
5tablespoons unsalted butter
2carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1large Spanish onion, chopped
2celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/3cup flour
1/2teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2cup frozen peas
1. In a large flameproof casserole, combine the chicken stock, chicken thighs, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, skim the surface, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

2. Remove the chicken from the broth. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone, discard the skin and bones; shred the meat.

3. Have on hand a 10-inch skillet with a heatproof handle or a baking dish of the same size.

4. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the carrots, onion, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until they soften. Remove the vegetables from the pan.

5. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock slowly. When the mixture comes to a boil, let it bubble gently for 2 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan with the chicken. Add the thyme and peas. Simmer 2 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Set aside.

TOPPING

1 1/2cups flour
2teaspoons baking powder
1/4teaspoon salt
1teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
5tablespoons unsalted butter
1cup milk

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme. Whisk well to combine them. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter. With 2 blunt knives or a pastry blender, work the mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs.

3. Stir the milk into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to form a dough.

4. Using a large metal spoon, drop the dough in spoonfuls on the chicken mixture. Gently spread the dough to cover the top of the skillet. Dot the top of the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

5. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly.

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