I honestly don’t know what’s come over me. I’m cooking real meals. I’m air drying my hair. I’m buying dark meat and Crisco at the store. Shoot, if that doesn’t say quarter life crisis, I don’t know what does.
I adapted this recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook (aka the bible). The recipe I really wanted was in my tried and true copy of Prairie Home Cooking, but after an emergency phone call to Georgia which resulted in my sweet mother peeling open dusty book boxes in the garage to no avail, I made due with what I had. But, let it be noted that the Chicken and Mushroom Pie from Prairie Home Cooking could quite possibly be the best pot pie I’ve ever tried. I made it in high school and it’s stuck with me. I need to get out more.
Anyway, here’s the recipe for tonight’s dinner. Almanzo said “it’s the best thing I’ve cooked yet”. That Texas boy does love his chicken and biscuits, I’ll tell you what.
Chicken n’ Biscuits
1 quart chicken stock
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (use dark meat for the most flavor)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 large red potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 T all purpose flour
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
6 T unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with a knife
2 cups sliced mushrooms
For the biscuits:
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 T COLD butter
2 T COLD shortening
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
In a large pot filled with water and the garlic cloves, poach the chicken thighs until cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool before chopping into small pieces. Set aside.
In another large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the carrots, celery and potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until veggies are done. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon and reserve stock. Combine chicken and veggies and set aside.
In a dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the onions and the mushrooms and saute for about seven minutes, or until both onions and mushrooms are soft. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Keep cooking for about five minutes, making sure to scrape the flour from the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. Now, slowly pour in the remaining stock, whisking as you pour. Crank up the heat to high and whisk your heart out for about five minutes as the sauce thickens and boils. Add the thyme, parsley, white pepper and nutmeg and stir. Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies (in a dutch oven or casserole dish) and set aside while you make the biscuits. You could also make the sauce earlier in the day and stick it in the fridge until later….just be sure to make the biscuits right before you serve it!
First of all, when you make biscuits you really need COLD fat. I always, always, always freeze my butter and shortening when I know I’m making biscuits. The colder the fat, the flakier the biscuits. It’s just how it works. I don’t write the rules, I just follow them when biscuits are on the line.
Now, preheat the oven to 450. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter and shortening and use your fingers to mix until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the cheese. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add the buttermilk to the egg. Whisk and then pour the mixture into the flour mixture and mix so that you have a relatively smooth ball of dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough four times (FOUR TIMES) and then roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with a water glass or cup (or biscuit cutter if you’re fancy…I’m not). Place biscuit rounds on top of the filling and brush the tops of the biscuits with egg wash (just one yolk mixed with a little warm water—this gives the biscuits shine) and prick with a fork.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the chicken mixture is bubbling. Serve hot.