Winter Roars Back

Posted by Donna on 7:16 PM with No comments

As the calendar flips from February into March, the Lion of Winter continues to roar. Another plowable snowstorm is barreling across the county ready to pounce on New England - again. Sure, we can raise our snow shovels and stamp our Sorrel boots in protest, but is there really anything we beleaguered New Englanders can we do to tame this beast?

They say music soothes that savage beast, but I’m going to go with food. The best kind of food. Comfort food – that warm, simple meal that brings back memories of snuggling under a soft plaid blanket on a blustery night, flames tap dancing across the logs in the fireplace, faithful dog curled up on the rug at your feet- okay, that’s a fantasy, not a memory, but you know what I’m talking about.  At the top of my comfort food list is tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Mmmmmm. A big bowl of soup and a creamy, ooey-gooey sandwich. It’s a staple in our house on Monday nights during the winter.

But now, my go to it's-cold-out-long-day-at-work-I-really-don't-want-to-cook-and-the-most-creative-I'm-going-to-get-is-to-add-ham-to-my-sandwich meal has some competition. Mini chicken pot pies. Kudos for the original recipe go to Holly and her Life in the Lofthouse blog, but I did a little tweaking.

The ingredients are simple, the result delicious. It's starts with the precise pop of a Pillsbury's Grand Homestyle Biscuits can and ends with a satisfied tummy. Here we go:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 oz Chicken Stock
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (or milk, in a pinch)
  • 1 (8 count) can refrigerated Pillsbury Grand Biscuits
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss the chicken breasts in to a saucepan, adding enough water to cover them (about 2 cups). Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the garlic and cut up the carrots, celery ribs and onion. Dice or slice, it's your preference. Just keep in mind, these are mini pot pies.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the breasts from the saucepan, skim off any crud and add the veggies. Boil the veggies for about 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Viola! Chicken-vegetable stock. Chop or shred the chicken (I prefer fork shredding). Mix it with the olive oil, thyme, pepper and garlic and put in the fridge to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, throw some flour on a flat, clean surface and pop that Pillsbury can! Roll each biscuit until it's flat and settle it into a Pam'd or greased muffin tin. I use the Texas size, giant muffin tins, which poses a quandary since the tin only holds six and there are 8 biscuits, so I use an 8x8 cake pan (round would work too) for the "extras".

Now, back to the stove. Reduce the heat on the saucepan to medium-low. Add the additional chicken stock to the water. Once it starts to a simmer, ladle out about 2 tablespoons into a smack bowl and mix in the cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mix back into the saucepan. Add in the heavy cream (or milk), chicken and veggies and give it a good stir. When the sauce thickens, you're ready to make pot pies.

Ladle about 1/3 cup of the mixture into each biscuit. Make sure you get a good helping of chicken and veggies into each. Seal each biscuit; take the sides of the dough and wrap them over the top. Pop the tin into the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the pot pies are golden brown. Let them stand for 5 minutes and then grab your fork!

Ah, satisfaction. Maybe comfort food really is the way to tame this beast of a winter and coax it to go out like lamb. Or just go. I'd be happy with that too.