Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick chicken pot pie

I bought some celery root last week. I've heard good things about this ugly little vegetable, but I didn't know quite what to do with it. I finally ended up using it in a quick chicken pot pie, thinking that a warm, hearty dish would be appropriate for the rainy, windy weather that hurricane Earl was supposed to bring us. Although the hurricane never quite materialized, the pot pie was still delicious!

This recipe is from The Best 30-Minute Recipe. It's a quick version of chicken pot pie that is still really flavorful. I made the biscuits for the topping from scratch, which takes the recipe a bit over the 30-minute mark, but not by much. I really liked the addition of celery root here - the flavor and texture both worked well. But you can certainly use regular celery if that's what you have available.

Quick chicken pot pie
Serves 4-5
For stew:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
3 bulbs of celery root, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (or use a couple sliced celery ribs)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme

For biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Place a rack in the upper-middle section of the oven and preheat oven to 450 deg F. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat in a heavy 12-inch skillet. When foam subsides, add chicken to pan. Brown chicken, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Remove chicken from skillet to a clean plate.

Melt remaining 2 tbs butter in skillet over medium hear. Add onion, celery root, carrots, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until incorporated, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Add vermouth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, cream, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Add chicken to pan, nestling it among the vegetables in the liquid. Cover pan and cook chicken over medium-low heat until thickest part reads 160 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make biscuits. Whisk flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add cream and stir with a wooden spoon just until a rough dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Knead gently and briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds. Don't overwork the dough - minimal handling will help the biscuits to be light. Pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut dough into 8 rounds with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, or cut into 8 wedges. If you are cutting rounds, you will need to gather the dough scraps together after cutting the first few, pat into a 3/4-inch-thick circle again, and continue cutting. Bake biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.

When chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and add peas to sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or so, until the peas are heated through. Shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the skillet. Season stew with salt and pepper. Place biscuits on top of individual servings.

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