New Year’s has come and gone and I’ve gotta be honest, I’m not big on resolutions. In yoga practice we set intentions, and I find that works for me. Things I’d like to improve or focus on vary from day to day or week to week, though some are constant and setting an intention helps to serve as a reminder. Resolutions just feel too sudden and final. Eating healthier is always a popular resolution, which, to me, doesn’t make much sense in January
The near sub-zero temperatures and the snow on the ground doesn’t exactly inspire daydreams of nice, light salads. This is definitely a snow-day meal, and not very ‘resolution friendly.’ You could make the gravy lighter, swap out the chicken for some hearty, browned mushrooms (and vegetable stock) to make it vegetarian. Or you can make it with loads of butter and tuck in on a cheat day, while you’re snuggled up under blankets watching the snow come down in thick and (okay, fine) beautiful flakes.
Later, enjoy the leftovers after trudging through the near-black slush that the beautiful flakes have become.
Chicken Pot Pie with Rosemary Biscuit Crust
For the filling:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 parsnip, peeled & diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 cup green beans or peas
Splash of dry, white wine
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock (if you want to make this lighter, swap out the milk & use 4 cups chicken stock)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt + pepper to taste
For the biscuit top:
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, very cold & cut into cubes
2 sprigs rosemary, stemmed & finely chopped
3/4 cup whole milk, plus more for brushing the tops
There are 2 ways to make pot pie – in a single pot, where some of the vegetables may end up too crisp or too mushy, or with a little extra time and a few more dirty dishes, but with perfectly cooked vegetables. We’re going to do it the second way. While you’re chopping your vegetables, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and have a bowl of ice cold, also heavily salted water waiting. No need to change the water between cooking or have separate ice baths; you can scoop the vegetables out with a skimmer, fine mesh strainer, or slotted spoon. Blanche one vegetable at a time, transferring to the ice bath when they’re done to stop the cooking.
I like to start with the fastest cooking ones – green beans (or peas), then parsnips, then carrots, then potatoes. Don’t blanche the onions! Each one will take a different amount of time, so you need to pluck out a piece and try it to check for doneness. Nothing should take longer than 6 minutes. You want them to be just barely tender, because they will continue to cook in the gravy.
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the chicken thighs in a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt & pepper and cook thoroughly, about 7 minutes, then remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Add onion and cook until fragrant and transparent. Add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom, until most of the wine evaporates. Remove onion from pot and set aside.
In the same pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter just stops foaming, add the flour, whisking to combine. When the flour almost starts to turn brown, start adding the milk & stock a little at a time, whisking constantly. Add paprika, nutmeg, salt & pepper and cook to thicken slightly. Once the gravy has started to thicken, add in the chicken and all the vegetables. Remove from heat and prepare the biscuit topping.
Heat oven to 500F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, & rosemary. Add the cubed butter and, using a fork, you hands, or a pastry blender, blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 3/4 cup of milk and stir until dough starts to form.
On a well-floured surface, turn out the dough and knead a few times, no more than ten. Pat out until dough is about a half-inch thick, then cut into 8 pieces.
Pour the pot pie filling into a large casserole dish and place biscuits on top. Brush the tops with extra milk and bake until tops are golden, about 15 minutes.