I don’t know about you but I grew up on the Marie Calendar’s chicken pot pies. I L-O-V-E chicken pot pie. Almost as much as I heart Zach Morris…or a good pair of sweat pants. Seems we quit eating them much as a family in my high school days, not sure why, maybe the enormous number of calories in each one? So a couple years ago I picked up a box from the freezer section at the store as a quick dinner option for Eric and I. I remember sitting down to dinner thinking “this is my dinner? my whole dinner? these babies are tiny!”. I remembered them being HUGE, so big I could hardly finish mine most of the time. Clearly it had been awhile because I can put away some food. Seriously. My pastor/cook father-in-law makes a to.die.for version of chicken pot pie that involves placing store bought biscuits on top of the filling in a 13X9 inch pan…..oh my stars. I thought about replicating that recipe but I have yet to find whole grain biscuits in a can and I am trying to incorporate whole grains more and more where possible. I found this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe….love that girl. She’s one of my blogger heros. This recipe involves a couple more steps than some of my other recipes but is so worth it and really doesn’t take too long. The topping and the chicken could both be made a head of time which would make assembly and baking a piece of cake.
Start with the topping. Flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper. Toss it in your food processor (or a bowl if you don’t have a food processor). Pulse it a couple times to mix or mix with a fork. Add chilled butter cut into cubes. Pulse until you have fine crumbs or use your (clean) fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture to form the crumbs.
Add parmesan cheese and pulse or mix with a fork to combine. Add cream (I know…the calories….but it’s worth it) and mix until combined.
Spread your crumbles out onto a baking sheet, maybe break apart some of the bigger clumps but you’re not looking for perfectly uniform crumbs. Bake at 400 10-15 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned.
Somewhere in there, cook some chicken. Take 3 medium sized chicken breasts and two cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil in a pot on the stove. Cook the chicken a good 15-20 minutes until cooked through but don’t over-do it. Now that your food processor is free of bread crumbs, toss your chicken in there and pulse until you have perfectly sized bites of chicken. Don’t do it too much, we’re not making baby food here. Set your chicken in a bowl to the side. If not using a food processor, use two forks to shred your chicken and set aside. Pour the chicken broth from the pot through a strainer into a small bowl and set aside.
Time for veggies. I used a combination of fresh and frozen veggies. Anything fresh got tossed in the food processor….I wasn’t in a chopping kind of mood. Heat some olive oil in the pot you used to cook your chicken (see….I’m saving you dishes to clean) and add your veggies. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, just until tender.
Dump your tender veggies into the same bowl you have your chicken in and go back to the stove. Melt some butter in your now empty pot and then add flour and whisk together for a minute. Add the chicken broth from earlier and some milk and whisk together, making sure not to let the bottom of the mixture burn. Cook this for about 5 minutes, whisking the whole time, until it thickens. If you are trying to make this gluten free…..maybe try replace the flour here with potato starch or corn starch? I don’t know that for sure but someone do it and tell me how it goes. Add your chicken/veggies to the mixture and stir combine.
Pour the filling into a greased 13X9 inch baking dish and top with the crumbles from earlier.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Let is stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Chicken Pot Pie Crumble
Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Chicken and Sauce:
1 ½ pounds chicken (about three medium-size chicken breasts)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
2-3 stalks celery, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat; next time I’ll do all whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl or your food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Pulse a couple times to combine. Sprinkle the chilled butter pieces over the top of the flour. Using your fingers or pulse the food processor to combine the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add the cream and stir (or pulse) until just combined. Crumble the mixture into irregularly shaped pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the crumble topping until fragrant and starting to brown, about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Set aside.
To prepare the chicken, place the chicken and broth in a large pot and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Cook the chicken until it is just done (don’t overcook or it will dry out) – about 10-12 minutes. Alternately, if you are planning in advance, you can place the chicken and broth in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Transfer the cooked chicken to a medium bowl. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup and reserve. Return the pot to the stovetop (no need to wash if you used it to cook the chicken). Toss the chicken into the food processor to shred or use two forks to shred and set the chicken aside.
For the filling, heat the olive oil in the now-empty pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the chicken; set aside.
Over medium heat melt the butter in the empty pot. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the reserved chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the bottom. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat and stir the chicken, vegetables and peas into the sauce.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan. Scatter the crumble topping evenly over the filling. Place the 9X13-inch pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the topping is well browned, about 15-20 minutes. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.