Comfort in a Casserole Dish: Creamy Chicken and Biscuits
I’m sitting here after a late-night walk with a friend. Depending on the direction we took through our neighborhood streets, we were either talking in peaceful near-silence or we were speaking against wind and a slight mist falling on our faces. Now, comes the wait for the full cold front, one of the last before spring. It gives me another chance to offer mugs of steaming hot chocolate to shivering children as they return home from school and to put comfort food on our table for supper.
Creamy chicken and biscuits is comfort through and through, from the homemade chicken “filling” to its topping of homemade buttermilk biscuits. I usually make homemade stock when I cook whole chickens, but you can also use canned stock or frozen stock from a previous batch. If you’d like to up the flavor quotient on your chicken, try baking leg quarters. Just season them, brush them with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees. This is a favorite with my children and one of my go-to recipes when I share a meal with a new mom or someone else in need of a home-cooked meal. It’s easy to prepare the filling and top with unbaked biscuits so the recipient may bake it for a hot meal on her own schedule.
Let the wind blow and the cold front come!
Creamy Chicken and Biscuits
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cooked cubed chicken (dark meat or a combination of dark and white)
Optional: 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Ingredients for Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cook celery, bell pepper and onion in butter over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir well. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add chicken broth and milk (or half and half). Cook over medium heat, stirring (or whisking) constantly until the mixture is thickened and begins to simmer. Stir in salt, pepper, chicken, and frozen vegetables.
Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan or a 2 quart casserole dish. OPTIONAL: Sprinkle mixture with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Set aside.
To make biscuits:
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; blend well. Use a pastry blender or fingers to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles “curds” or pea-sized bits and there is no flour left over.
Use a fork to stir in the buttermilk, just until incorporated and the dough forms.
Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead 2-3 times to finish mixing.
Use a rolling pin, lightly dusted with flour, to roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter or into squares with a knife.
Place biscuits atop cooked chicken mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden.
Brush finished biscuits with melted butter.
Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.