Chicken and Biscuits, or Chicken Pie

On Tuesday I made chicken pot pie for dinner.  I don’t understand why it isn’t called simply Chicken Pie.  Does anyone know?

I felt pretty good about the pot pie even though I fear Th. didn’t really enjoy eating it.  I used meat from chicken leg quarters that I bought for $.69 or $.79 per pound, the broth I made from the meat, and the fat from the broth (in the crust — just to save money on butter, which has become so expensive!).  I felt very frugal, and it worked just fine.  I only used one or two tablespoons of chicken fat, and the rest was butter.  This works okay for a meat pie, but of course I wouldn’t do it for a fruit pie, or my goodness, for a chocolate pie.  Can you imagine?  I also threw in some small red potatoes that I found on the reduced produce rack, along with a carrot, which I bought at full price.

Anyway, how frugal I feel is hardly important.  It actually was frugal, and that’s what counts.  I feel frugal when I make a meatless meal, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily is frugal, especially if, at the last moment, I cover my virtuous, self-denying casserole with a layer of cheese.  I ought to have recognized long ago that cheese, even on sale, costs at least $1.00 more per pound than I would ever spend on meat.  Alas.  Now I shall have to add this to the list of things I wish I didn’t know.

Anyway, I made a pie crust topping to practice my pie crust-making skills in anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Th. said he prefers a biscuit topping, so I think I’ll stick with that in the future.  The biscuit topping has oats and an egg in it, which I think is weird, but it tastes good, and oats are also virtuous.

In fact, and unfortunately, I think what Th. wanted to say but didn’t was that he would prefer that I didn’t make this meal so often at all, no matter what the topping is.  It would be inconsiderate to pretend I don’t know this.  But I do recommend chicken and biscuits, or chicken pie, to you, as long as your family hasn’t silently begged you to stop making it.  Here is the recipe.

Chicken and Biscuits, or Chicken Pie

1/2 stick butter (Or, you can use chicken fat for some portion of this.  Scrape it off the top of homemade stock.)

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 carrot, diced

(optional : 4 small, red potatoes, cubed)

1 cup cooked, diced or shredded chicken  (Use up to 2 cups if you’re not including potatoes.  It is good to use dark meat in this recipe.)

1/4 cup flour

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups liquid (Some portion of this should be chicken broth, and the rest cream, half-and-half, or milk)

thyme, marjoram, salt, & pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, carrots, potatoes, thyme, and marjoram.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften (less than 10 minutes).  Add the chicken and stir.  Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir again.  Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour in the liquid and bring it all to a slow boil.  Allow the mixture to thicken.  Continue stirring constantly.  When it’s thick, add salt, pepper, and any more seasoning it needs.  Pour the mixture into a casserole dish or a pie pan.

For the crust: make 1 9″ round pie crust and lay it over the filling.  Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes (I think), or

for biscuit topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick oats

2 tsp. baking powder

salt (1/2 tsp? I’m not sure)

6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (Or, you know, salted, but then leave out the salt above)

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mix together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter until you have crumbs.  Add the milk and egg and mix it all up.  Drop large spoonfuls of biscuit dough all over the top of the chicken filling, until the whole top is covered.  Bake uncovered at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until filling bubbles and biscuits are golden brown.

You should allow time for the final product to cool before serving, so it can “set up” a little.  Solidify.  Congeal.  Or, simply use a slotted spoon when serving, as it will be soupy.

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  1. The grocery budget: beyond buying low | Repetition Is Key

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