I love chicken pot pie. LOVE it. Maybe it’s the South in me, but nothin’ beats it when it comes to comfort food in my book. (And who needs comfort more than a busy mom of two little ones?!) Don’t we all think our mothers make the best chicken pot pie? I happen to think that my mom’s is awesome, and hopefully one day my kids will say the same about mine. The traditional recipe is wonderful, but I have always loved the idea of taking a classic dish and changing it up a bit.
Some people swear by pie dough to top their pot pie, some do puff pastry, and many use drop biscuits as their crust. I like them all, but when I was trying to create a southwestern style chicken pot pie, I felt I needed to go with a biscuit. But a simple biscuit just wasn’t good enough for me, (nothing rarely is…). I thought it would be cool to take a classic southern treat like pimento cheese and twist it into a biscuit to make the perfect topper to my pies. And it was. I definitely plan on making these biscuits for an upcoming brunch because they were that good. Instead of dropping the biscuit dough onto the top of the filing as expected, I decided to just take the whole sheet of dough and place it on top of the pie, just as if it was a thick pie crust or puff pastry sheet. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. This chicken pie is rich, comforting, and packed with great flavor. Here’s what I did…
*For the Biscuit ‘Crust’:
-In your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, place 2 cups AP flour (you may need up to 6 TB more), 1 TB baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Mix to combine on low speed.
-With the mixer still on low, add in 1 1/2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter that you’ve diced. Mix until the butter is pea-sized.
-In a small, glass measuring cup whisk together 1/2 cup of cold buttermilk with a splash of white vinegar and 2 cold egg yolks. Add this to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until moistened. If the dough becomes too wet and sticky, add more flour, 1 TB at a time, until you reach the perfect consistency, (moist, but not sticky).
-Add 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 cups of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and 2 oz (1/4 cup) of diced pimentos that you’ve drained and patted dry. (Add the cheese slowly by sprinkling into the mixer as it’s on so you don’t get clumps of cheese in your dough.
-When everything is combined, turn the dough onto a floured surface. With floured hands, form it into a shape to fit the size of the pan you are using, (I recommend a standard 9x13in glass dish), and if this is the first thing you’ve made for this dish, transfer to a cookie sheet to be placed in the fridge while you make your filling.
*For the Filling:
-Remove the kernels from 2 cobs of corn (equal to about 1 1/2 cups) and set aside. Break each cob in half and place in a saucepan, cover with the contents of 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk and turn the heat on low. Allow this to heat through and gently simmer, but not boil, while you make your filling.
-In a large skillet on medium heat, warm a couple TB of extra virgin olive oil.
-Trim and dice 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2-1 3/4 lb) and season liberally with salt, pepper, 1 tsp of freshly ground coriander and about 1/4 tsp of dried oregano. Saute until almost cooked through and transfer to a plate while you cook your veggies.
-In the same skillet, add 1 red bell pepper that you’ve diced, 1 medium onion, diced, and 1/2 a jalapeno OR 1 serano pepper, diced and seeded.
-Season the veggies well with salt and pepper.
-Once they’ve begun to soften, add in 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced.
-Once you can smell the garlic, add in 2 TB of unsalted butter and melt.
-Sprinkle in 3 TB of flour and stir well until the veggies are coated in a thick paste.
-Add a good splash of white wine and stir well.
-Pour in your corn-infused milk, strained through a sieve, and stir well. This should now be a very thick filling. You can add a splash or so of chicken stock to loosen it a bit, but remember that the peppers will give off a lot of water in the oven so you want to keep this thicker than you want the end result to be.
-Stir in your chicken and corn, and allow to cool a bit before stirring in a good handful of finely chopped cilantro and pouring it into your greased 9x13in glass dish to await the crust.
-Once your slightly cooled filling is in your baking dish, take your cold, shaped biscuit dough and carefully place on top, being sure to fit it as exactly as possible over the dish to cover the filling. (When it bakes, it will pull away from the sides a bit)
-Beat 1 egg with a splash of water and brush on top of the dough.
-Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the biscuit crust is golden brown.