Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Chicken pot pie with biscuits

This whole biscuit thing had me really confused for quite some time. Yes, I realise I'm easily confused, but still. I started my food blog about a year ago, and that's also when I started to follow other food blogs and Pinterest. I actually didn't actively follow any food blogs when I started my own, it was started because last Easter I ended up baking and cooking quite a lot over the holidays, and I wanted a place where I could store my recipes and the accompanying pictures. So I thought, instead of just jutting them down in my own files, I might as well share them online. At least that way my mum would see what I'm up to. And I think she might still be one of my few readers, and if anyone else out there actually reads this, please feel free to leave a comment as I would absolutely love to hear about you. And why oh why do I always get inspired to start writing my blog posts in the morning about ten minutes before I have to dash off to the bus. Well, I will just have to continue to pour my heart out about biscuits some other time. 

Anyways. I'm back, so let's return to my confusion over biscuits. I always thought biscuits are like cookies. At least that's what they are over here in the UK. But clearly in the US, they are more like scones. I'm sure there is technically a difference between biscuits and scones, but let's not get nitpicky. And I had never thought about putting them in food, for me scones are eaten with tea. As in a cup of tea, not supper. Tea was also a source of much confusion for me before I realised the Brits actually mean supper when they say tea. Again, why? There is a perfectly good, non-ambiguous word like supper, but oh well. And then there is dinner and supper? Aren't they the same? But apparently not. Very confusing for someone who speaks a language where there is just one word for the meal you eat in the evening. And again I drifted off from biscuits. The point was, when I saw this lovely recipe for chicken pot pie with biscuits from Joy the Baker I was doing a bit of a happy dance in my head. And my tummy. How genius to bake the scones, no I mean biscuits, on top of food! Kind of like dumplings, but not submerged. This was a completely new concept to me, so I just had to try it. Obviously since then, I have seen many recipes with biscuits used in a similar way, but this was the original I tried a while ago, and it really made an impression. It's so warming and comforting, and such great winter food.

My recipe is inspired by this recipe from Joy the Baker. I only made some minor modifications to the biscuits, but a major re-working of the filling. I skipped making the creamy dreamy sauce that goes with the original recipe, replacing it by more veggies and crushed tomatoes. If you don't mind the extra calories, make sure to check out the original recipe, as it looks absolutely delicious. I didn't have any cream cheese for the biscuits, but I did have some leftover Stilton in my fridge, so I used that instead. Also, I halved the amount of the dough for the biscuits.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
30 g butter
50 g cream cheese (or Stilton, or maybe Brie)
95 ml buttermilk (I used regular milk)

Filling: 1 tbsp oil of choice
2 onions
1 clove of garlic
4 carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 courgette
2 cups water
1 can (400g) tinned tomatoes
salt and pepper
4 chicken fillets, cooked and diced
1 chicken stock cube

The howto:
First make the biscuits. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, salt, pepper and chives. With your fingers, mix in butter and cream cheese until the mixture is crumbly, but has texture. Add buttermilk, and mix very quickly to form a dough. Knead with your hands until the dough is about 3 cm (a bit more than an inch) thick, and use a cookie cutter to make round biscuits. I used a very small cutter to have tiny little biscuits, because I thought that would look nice, adjust the thickness of the disc of dough if you are making bigger biscuits. 

To make the filling, start by chopping all the veggies. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Heat up oil in a frying pan, and add onions. Let cook until translucent. Then add garlic, carrots and celery. Let cook for about 10 minutes, the veg should still be firm. Pour veg into an oven proof dish along with the courgette and add water and tinned tomatoes. Sprinkle chicken evenly over the veg and season with salt and pepper. Finish by crumbling the chicken stock cube on top of the chicken and place biscuits evenly on top of it all. You can brush the biscuits with milk or egg wash if you like (I didn't). Bake for about 25 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.
The verdict:
My version of this chicken pot pie is a bit simplified from the original, which includes making a white sauce with cream cheese for the filling. Mine is much more humble but it's bursting with flavours from the veg. Also, the biscuits are perfectly crumbly and delicious and I think adding in the Stilton instead of cream cheese did bring lots of delicious flavour as well. 

This recipe is not exactly low carb or low calorie, but sometimes you have to treat yourself a little, and this pot pie certainly did the trick. I was going to freeze a few servings, but after having a taste, I just ate it all in a few days, with no left-overs to freeze. 

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