Wow, this is an old recipe, all the way back from this past January! Somehow I never managed to get it posted through the spring, and then it didn't seem appropriate for summer months. Now that fall is rolling around, though, it's definitely one you won't want to miss. The cheddar biscuits on this chicken pie are amazing - flavorful, cheesy, and tender. They top the filling of a chicken pot pie, without all the trouble of making and rolling out a pie crust. This is definitely the recipe to turn to when you're in the mood for comfort food - it's warm, filling, and oh-so-delicious!
Chicken Pie with Cheddar Biscuits (adapted from Gourmet magazine)
For the filling
4 cups chicken broth
3 carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 pound red potatoes, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large ribs of celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (the meat from a 3-pound chicken)
1 onion, chopped
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
For the biscuit crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into bits
1/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 large egg
about 1/3 cup buttermilk
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk
1. Make the filling: Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the carrots, potatoes, and celery and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are just tender, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, reserving the broth, and add the chicken to the bowl.
2. In another saucepan, cook the onion in the butter and olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of the reserved broth in a stream, whisking, reserving any remaining broth for another use. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking. Add the thyme and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, pour the sauce over the chicken mixture, and stir the mixture gently until it is just combined.
3. Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart shallow baking dish or divide it among four 2-cup shallow baking dishes. (The filling may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Bring the mixture to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.)
4. Make the biscuit crust: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and the shortening, and cut in until the mixture resembles meal. Add the Cheddar and toss the mixture.
5. Into a liquid measuring cup break the egg and add enough of the buttermilk to measure a total of 1/2 cup. Beat the buttermilk mixture with a fork. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir just until the mixture forms a dough, gather into a ball, and pat out to 1/2-inch thick on a floured surface. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a 2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, gathering the scraps and patting the dough out again in the same manner.
6. Arrange the rounds on the chicken mixture, brush the tops of the rounds with the egg wash, and prick the rounds with a fork. Bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling.