Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie with Parmesan Biscuit Crumble

Don't even try to talk to me about the Super Bowl.

We had everything ready to cheer those Broncos on to victory (or at least to a spectacularly competitive finish): the food, the drinks, the party atmosphere. We even taught Matthew a couple of football cheers and he was all set for "the orange guys" to win or at least score a few touchdowns. Then that safety happened on the first offensive play of the game. And it only got worse from there.

I'm still drowning my sorrows. It was a rough night and the next morning both Paul and I felt terribly out of sorts. Imagine how the entire Bronco's team must have felt (and my poor Peyton!!).

Needless to say, we were all in desperate need of a little comfort. What is more comforting than a chicken pot pie?

This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie gets rid of the tedious preparation of a pastry dough by instead making a biscuit crumble for the topping. The biscuit crumble is ingenious: lightly peppery and flavored with Parmesan cheese. I probably could have eaten that all by myself and been very, very content. The filling is a breeze to make especially if you have leftover chicken, which we did. I always double up on the vegetable portion because that's the way I roll. You could definitely make this fully vegetarian by adding in some potatoes, extra mushrooms, and maybe some steamed broccoli or asparagus. Any way you slice it, the sauce that coats your fillings of choice is deceptively simplistic yet luxurious and indulgent in taste. I attribute the amazing taste to the addition of tomato paste and soy sauce to the mushrooms - it really beefs up their flavor and adds a mysteriously delicious element to the final product.

This recipe also works well with leftover turkey. We served it with a side of roasted broccoli. Divine.

This meal was dedicated to the Broncos. Despite what happened at the Super Bowl, you guys still had a fantastic season.

Chicken Pot Pie with Parmesan Biscuit Crumble Topping
adapted from Cook's Illustrated September/October 2010

For the Filling:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs (or 1 1/2 pounds leftover chicken or turkey meat!)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine  
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
2 small celery ribs, chopped fine   
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and sliced thin
1 teaspoon soy sauce 
1 teaspoon tomato paste  
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley) 
3/4 cup frozen baby peas
For the Parmesan Biscuit Crumble:
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (do not substitute milk or half & half)
For the Chicken:
If you do not have leftover chicken to use, poach the breasts in the chicken broth. Bring chicken and broth to simmer in covered Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until chicken is just done, about 8-12 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to large bowl. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup and reserve. Do not wash Dutch oven. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
To Make the Topping:
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in large bowl. Sprinkle butter pieces over top of flour. Using fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in Parmesan. Add cream and stir until just combined. Crumble mixture into irregularly shaped pieces ranging from 1/2 to ¾ inch each onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, 10 to 13 minutes. Set aside.
To Make the Filling:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, celery, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken into small bite-size pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken and set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in soy sauce and tomato paste. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned, and dark fond begins to form on surface of pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with chicken and vegetables. Set aside.
Heat butter in empty Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to simmer, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons parsley.
 Stir chicken-vegetable mixture and peas into sauce. Pour mixture into 13 by 9-inch baking dish or casserole dish of similar size. Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake on rimmed baking sheet until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon parsley and serve.

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