People are funny with their food preferences, aren’t they? Like my friend, Heather, who thinks leftover roast chicken tastes metallic—she can only eat it in a sauce. (After she mentioned it, I noticed it too.) My husband strongly prefers white meat (though he’ll eat the other stuff if it’s hidden in a sauce). Then there’s my friend, Steve, who doesn’t really like sauce at all. I’m guilty, too—I’ll eat offal like liver or giblets, but won’t touch brains or tripe. I like soup hot enough to blister the roof of my mouth. And I also favor chicken breast over thighs. Eek! Do I have to forfeit my food lover credentials?
Anyway, all this to say that I’m always looking for ways to use up those unloved bits of roast chicken. Soup is a good bet (like this spicy lentil Mulligatawny). So is chicken pot pie. I made one last weekend, cramming three kinds of vegetables—mushrooms, asparagus, and peas—into a velouté sauce, along with cubed roast chicken.
I topped the stew with a batch of quick biscuits, moistening the dough with yogurt instead of buttermilk, and adding a handful of chopped parsley that I found wilting at the bottom of the fridge. The yogurt made the biscuits slightly tangy, all fluffy interior and crisp top. But if you’re Team Pastry, go ahead and unfurl a sheet of pâte brisée on top, or even the frozen puff variety from your friendly neighborhood supermarket.
Besides being soothing enough to engender world peace, chicken pot pie has two other positive qualities: 1) You can make the stew ahead of time and freeze it. Just defrost and top with store-bought pastry for an easy meal. 2) Small, discerning babies (like my own) enjoy it and don’t even know they’re eating so many vegetables. Win, win, win!
Chicken pot pie with parsley biscuits
For the chicken stew:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cream sherry (optional)
5 cups chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 lb white button mushrooms, diced
1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off, and cut into 1-inch segments
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups roast chicken, diced
Salt and pepper
Parsley yogurt biscuits
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 oz cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk, or yogurt (NOT Greek-style, or strained)
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
In a large pot, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sherry (if using) and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add the chicken broth and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thick.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, asparagus, peas, and dried thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir the vegetables into the sauce, along with the chicken. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place the stew in a 9″ x 13″ ceramic baking dish. (Alternatively, you can pause here and refrigerate or freeze the stew until you’re ready to use it. Just make sure to reheat it before continuing; see note below.*)
Make the biscuits. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and parsley. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yogurt and stir with a fork until the dough comes together—it will be sticky, with bits of flour on the side of the bowl. I like to knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl to bring everything together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using gentle, floured fingertips, pat the dough into an 8-inch x 10-inch rectangle, about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2 to 3-inch squares (or use the rim of a 2-inch juice glass). Arrange the biscuits on top of the stew. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the stew is bubbly around the sides.
*Make-ahead note: Before topping with biscuits, be sure to reheat the stew. You could pop it in the hot oven for 25 minutes. Or use the microwave (as I do :)