03 June 2011

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocketful of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,

The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

If you translate blackbirds to chicken and king to husband, you pretty much have dinner at our house when I make this chicken pot pie. (Well. The chicken usually doesn't start singing. But it is indeed a "dainty dish," if dainty may be defined as utterly delicious.)

Also, the husband is a big fan-- it uses leftover roast chicken, which I usually have in the fridge-- and it's perfect for popping in the freezer. These are three mega-points in its favor.


Perfect* Chicken Pot Pie
(taken and heavily tweaked from Moms for Safe Food)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup arrowroot starch or flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
lots of black pepper
paprika, parsley, and marjoram to taste
unbaked biscuits from this recipe**

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking dish.
2) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic; saute 10 minutes, until softened.
3) Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir to coat thoroughly. Cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes.
4) Slowly add in stock and cream, stirring vigorously to prevent clumps. Bring to boil, keep stirring to prevent burning on the bottom. Once thickened, add peas and chicken and heat through.
5) Season to taste with salt, pepper, and herbs. I always add more salt, but you might not want that much. Pour into prepared pan.
6) At this point, you may let it cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze it without the biscuit topping. (I like to make a double batch and freeze one pan.) Or you can bake it immediately.
7) Whether you are serving it right away or have thawed it from the freezer, bake for 30-40 minutes in preheated oven, until bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and top with biscuits. (Don't pack them together, since they rise and expand in the oven. Leave room between them.) Bake for 15 more minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

*I say perfect because it has a good ratio of chicken to vegetables and biscuits to filling; also, it is not soupy. Lord save me from soupy casseroles.
**Roll them about a 1/4 inch thick. The number of biscuits you'll need depends on how large you cut them; I usually use nine. One recipe of biscuits is plenty to cover a 9x9 pan.

Shared at Fight Back Friday.