I don’t normally like pot pies, because they remind me a bit of those Swanson’s things that are filled with goop and stringy bits and, oh, let’s say “vegetables,” only you can’t tell which ones because vegetables aren’t shaped like that in real life, and what the hell, Swanson’s? I don’t like them, normally, but Nick does, and so I’ve had to devise a clever plan that will allow us all to enjoy the meal. That clever plan? Curry powder and biscuit dough, and large, hearty chunks to bite into. Nothing like those crappy little things you sometimes get talked into buying when your version of Nick comes shopping.
Also, I’m lazy and hate doing dishes and our sink is still kind of broken, so this whole thing takes place in a single pot, save for the mixing bowl you’ll use to mix the biscuit topping. One pot, hearty dish, kind of like a hug you eat. And when you’re chopping your vegetables, make sure you cut them so that they look like what they are.
Chicken Pot Pie
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 medium Russet potatoes, chopped into half-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cup chopped uncooked chicken (I prefer thighs, but chicken breast is okay too)
- 2 carrots, sliced into rounds
- 1 leek, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, including leaves
- 1 cup frozen peas (or lima beans!)
- 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder (the regular yellow stuff)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 2/3 cup milk, also cold
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a pot that can be used on the stove and in the oven, melt the butter and brown the chicken with the onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, and sauté for a minute or two before adding the carrot and leek. Sauté for another minute or two, until the veggies are brightly coloured and have begun to sweat. Add the celery, and then sprinkle the spices and flour over top. Mix well, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
Add the chicken stock and milk to deglaze, reduce to medium, and allow to simmer while you make the biscuit dough. You want the veggies to simmer and the liquid to reduce slightly and thicken, about five minutes, or until the potatoes can be just pierced with a fork. Stir in the peas. This is the thing I forgot, and I was annoyed, because the peas add a lovely punch of colour to the end result, and also I super love peas.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Blend well, and then cut the butter into the mix. You want to work the butter in with a knife at first, and then with your hands, pinching the butter and the flour in your fingers and squishing flakes back into the bowl. You want this to look a bit like the early stages of pie dough, with chunks of butter, in varying sizes. Gradually stir in the milk, and knead to make a dough.
Flatten and roll out to the approximate diameter of your pot. Mine looks to be ten or so inches in diameter, and the dough ended up being about an inch thick. It doesn’t have to be perfect – go for rustic, it’s much nicer. Nothing like Swanson’s. Press the dough into the pot gently. It doesn’t matter if there are little gaps – holes are a good thing. Keeps the juice from bubbling out all over your oven.
Stab a slit into the centre, and place in the middle of your oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
Serve with a green salad, and a cold beer. Everything about this dish is warming, from the actual heat of the thing fresh out of the oven to the hint of curry and thyme, to the steaming biscuit topping that tastes like something your grandma would have served with soup. It’s rich and aromatic, and perfect for a crisp fall evening when you don’t want to do anything but finish a very good book, all huddled up in a blanket.