An easy version of a classic pot pie, this can be put together ahead but is simple enough to be an on-the-night thrown together meal. The 'crust' is made with a simple biscuit recipe that cooks quickly and nicely on top of the chicken and vegetable mixture. A hearty, colourful mix of vegetables makes this even more healthy and can be added to according to what you have on hand (I'm a big fan of this sort of recipe as due to changing my mind or vegetables getting used up more or less quickly than I expected I often have 'extras' that need using). The method of cooking the chicken was a little bit of a change for me - essentially it's poached in the milk - and it results in evenly-cooked, moist pieces of chicken. If you have leftovers I recommend whipping up a second batch of the biscuit dough and adding those for the next meal - making for much better leftovers (and extra biscuits doesn't hurt!). Finally, use whatever cheddar you have handy, but an aged cheddar adds a little more interest in flavour and makes the biscuits even better. I adapted this recipe from a recent Chatelaine - and each time I do - as I change up the vegetables, add more herbs - whatever I feel like on that given day.
Hopefully we're nearing the end of days where a warm, hearty, oven-cooked meal seems fitting (in this part of the world anyway) but we're not out of the woods yet so enjoy. I'm not planning on posting any more stew recipes until closer to September. Summer farmer's markets, locally-sourced summer salads and plenty of easy deck-friendly meals are in the cards soon I'm sure!
- 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) milk
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh thyme, chopped (or dried if that is what you have handy)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
- 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, cut inito bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or other oil
- 1 small- to medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes OR
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) butter
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) frozen peas
Other filling ideas:
- sliced mushrooms
- chopped cabbage
- chopped broccoli
- sliced leeks
- chopped cauliflower
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) grated old cheddar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
Preheat oven to 375° F(190° C).
Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk with thyme and 1 tsp salt in a large saucepan over medium-high.
When simmering, add the chicken.
Cook, stirring often, until firm, about 6 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter or plate.
Pour poaching liquid out of pan and set aside.
Return the saucepan to the burner and add oil. Then add the sweet potato, celery, bell pepper and onion.
Stir often until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to the same platter/plate as the chicken.
Add the butter to the saucepan. Gradually whisk in the 1/4 cup of the flour and cook for one minute.
Gradually whisk in the poaching liquid. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the peas, chicken and vegetable mixture. Season with pepper. Stir to combine.
Transfer this filling mixture to an 8-in.-square baking dish and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
Stir 1 1/4 cups of flour with the baking powder, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
Using the back of a fork, mash in the butter until crumbly (or use a pastry blender).
Stir in the cheese.
Whisk egg with 1/4 cup of the milk in a medium bowl. Pour egg mixture into flour and stir until just moistened.
Turn out dough onto a floured counter and gently knead until ilt comes together.
Shape into 8 or 9 rounds.
Lay on top of the chicken vegetable mixture.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with more milk (butter is good too).
Bake in the center of the oven until the biscuit tops are dark golden and filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.