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Friday, April 5, 2013

A Plucky Pot Pie

This isn't your typical chicken pot pie. As scribed by Melissa Clark with In Praise of Pale Food, this White Chicken Pot Pie diversion is just great and had my guests swooning. The recipe may be found here and below, with my comments in italics. I made a few adjustments over and about, adding in canned potatoes, an assortment of wild mushrooms and substituting canned green beans for suggested frozen peas. Just add these before the dish goes into the oven to bake so nothing is overly mushy.

As any adventure begins when trying out an unfamiliar recipe or creating something new, I was simultaneously unsure and curious how this biscuit topping would turn out as we left the traditional pastry crust behind. In a word: MARVELOUSLY! Added in dollops, the biscuits cooked perfectly in the oven while the filling underneath bubbled merrily.

I was only serving three of us, so this potpie with a simple salad was dinner, lunch the next day and also leftovers. Do enjoy!

White Chicken Potpie
1 hour 45 minutes
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds) Nope, an already cooked rotisserie chicken
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 rosemary sprig
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (18 tablespoons), chilled, additional for greasing pan
2 leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream, more as needed
1 small celery root or 2 small carrots, peeled and diced (1 1/4 cups) I included 1 1/4 cups mirepoix, the celery, carrot and onion mixture, already chopped
Package of sliced wild mushrooms
1 medium potato, peeled and diced (1 1/4 cups) Sliced up peeled potatoes from a can
1 cup frozen peas, optional Indeed! I used a can of Del Monte French cut green beans that we had instead
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 1/2 lemons)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds I didn't use almonds, I didn't think the recipe warranted any

I skipped this step entirely by using the rotisserie chicken that I later hacked apart and shredded before adding it into the mix.
1. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Let rest 15 minutes. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine chicken, stock, 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.

2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter.

The beautiful pale leeks!


3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks and shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 

Add in mushrooms and cook for a little longer until they release their juices. 

Melt in 4 more tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/2 cup flour and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the strained stock (I used vegetable stock but chicken stock of course would work) and the cream. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer. Slice your can of potatoes during the simmer. Stir in celery root or carrot, and potato; simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes (This is where the mirepoix comes into play). Stir in chicken, peas if using and lemon zest. Scrape mixture into prepared pan.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, the baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cut the remaining 10 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). Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with almonds.

5. Transfer casserole to oven; bake until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Somewhere around 15 minutes into it, I thought to pour in a little dry-ish white wine.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

8 to 10 servings

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