Are you ever at a loss for what to fix for dinner? Same old beef, pork, chicken and salmon at the grocer… really not in the mood for clams, shrimp or mussels… wandering around waiting for inspiration.
Sometimes the past comes to the rescue. It was a cool evening and something from the oven sounded good. Chicken pot piece to mind. I did a mental inventory of what was on hand and what I needed to pick up to make it happen. No recipe around, so I put together what would work and moved forward. It was getting late and I did decide on a short cut – a boxed baking mix I could mess with and improve a little.
CHICKEN POT PIE WITH A SHORTCUT, BUT WITHOUT A RECIPE
4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
onion, celery and carrot
1 tsp Better Than Bullion Low Sodium Chicken Bullion Paste per cup of water used. (Better Than Bullion comes in beef, chicken, vegetable and fish versions. It is an excellent flavor base. I think the low sodium version is plenty salty, so taste after you get you chicken and vegetables going before adjusting any seasonings.)
Small bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 tsp dried thyme or a few springs of fresh thyme if you can find it
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour (maybe a little more)
Bisquick baking mix in a box (baking mix is the short cut. Buttermilk makes the biscuits better.)
Heat oven to 450º.
Place package of frozen thighs in warm water. While they defrost, dice about 1/2 medium onion, two celery stalks and two carrots into 3/8-inch cubes. Mix bullion paste into a cup of hot water. You’ll have to stir vigorously to mix it all well. Place bullion and another cup water in a a good sized sauce pan, bring to a simmer and add diced vegetables.
When chicken thighs are pretty well defrosted, cut the meat into 3/4 inch cubes. Add to vegetables in pot and simmer until cooked through. Add frozen vegetables and heat through. Add thyme. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Follow biscuit instructions on Bisquick box side panel. Substitute buttermilk for the plain milk Stir to mix and put dough on a flowered counter top and knead about 10 times. Roll or pat dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into biscuits. I use a tomato sauce can with both the bottom and top ends removed as a biscuit cutter to get biscuits that are a comfortable size for holding gravy or butter and jelly. The recipe makes a dozen biscuits that are almost as good as biscuits made from scratch! Allow the cut biscuits to sit a few minutes.
Put butter in a glass measuring cup and heat it in your microwave in 20 second bursts until it is melted. Stir a couple of teaspoons of flour at at time into melted butter. Zap again at 20 second bursts. Flour will thicken in the butter. Repeat until all flout is absorbed. Then, add Tablespoons of broth from the chicken and vegetable pot and mix it we’ll into the butter/flour. You want to have a smooth, thin paste in your measuring cup. Then slowly add a couple of spoons full at a time back to the cooking pot. Stir well to mix into the pot liquid. It will begin to thicken. Add more until you have a somewhat thick “gravy” in the pot with the chicken and vegetables. Empty chicken and vegetable mix into an 8X8-inch baking dish, top with biscuits and place in oven. Biscuits will rise and become golden brown on top in about 10 minutes. When biscuits are done, remove dish from the oven and let rest a few minutes to set up.
My mother always made chicken pot pie with just chicken and chicken broth gravy. She would make huge pans of it as an alternative dish for the annual Order of Eastern Start Enchilada Supper, and it would sell out every time. I like to add vegetables to my pot pie and I can still her telling me that that’s “just not right.”
The other night, after supper, my friend Jack scooped me by posting a picture of my pot pie on FaceBook before I could write this article for the blog or post my own pictures on FaceBook. And, he even plagiarized my “Dinner at the Doublewide” category from here. What are friends for?