Since we are talking casseroles this week on Cook the Book, we had to include one of our favorite wintertime casseroles—the pot pie, as warm and savory and crusty as you could imagine. This Lemony Chicken Pot Pie with Parsley Biscuit Crust from Faith Durand's Not Your Mother's Casseroles is a gorgeous reinvention of the classic meat-meets-pastry classic.
The chicken-y base is a mix of onions and fennel, cubed Yukon Gold potatoes, and chunks of chicken breast sautéed with a bright lemon-wine sauce. The pastry comes in the form of parsley-flecked biscuits that are dolloped over the chicken mixture and showered with Parmesan before baking. When the pie emerges from the oven, the biscuits are golden brown, light and crisp on the top and properly soggy on the bottom where they meet the pie filling. The bubbling filling might appear to be a bit one-note in color, but your first bite is filled with bursts of lemon and fennel, and alternating bites of soft potato and juicy chicken.
This reinvented pot pie is a definite make-again, though next time I might incorporate a few more veggies. I could see peas and carrots or even spinach working their way into this recipe beautifully.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Not Your Mother's Casseroles to give away this week.
Adapted from Not Your Mother's Casseroles. Copyright © 2011. Published by Harvard Common Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- For the biscuit topping:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup milk
- For the chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease the baking dish with olive oil.
Prepare the biscuit dough. Mix the flour in a medium bowl with the baking powder, salt, and parsley. Cut in the cold butter and work it in with your fingers or a pastry blender until the flour mixture resembles soft bread crumbs. Add the milk, stirring just until the dough comes together. Set aside.
Cut the chicken breasts into large bite-size pieces. Toss the pieces in a bowl with the flour and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water is flicked in, add the chicken and brown for about 6 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn tender and fragrant. Add the potatoes and turn the heat up a little. Sauté the potatoes for a few minutes with the onion, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and chicken, and season the stew with about 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Spread the stew in the prepared baking dish. Drop the biscuit dough on top in 6 to 8 evenly spaced mounds and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the biscuit topping is golden. Serve hot.