Chicken and biscuits is exactly that–a simple chicken stew topped with biscuits. It’s a one-pot meal, like some other common chicken dishes, but it has a textual contrast that dumplings can’t provide, and it’s quite a bit simpler than pot pie, since good pastry dough is often trickier than good biscuit dough. (I know that pot pies are now often made with puff pastry, but I don’t have to like it.)
How simple is it? Chop and sauté some vegetables; stir in liquid and flour; add cooked chicken; top with biscuit dough; and bake. This recipe is based on one by Grace Parisi in Food and Wine (Nov. 2012), but I made some changes the very first time I tried it–button mushrooms instead of shiitake, onion instead of shallots (which we were out of at the time), and all-purpose flour instead of self-rising flour for the biscuits. I haven’t tried different vegetables in the stew or different seasonings in the biscuits, but you can use whatever works for you.
A bit more on the flour: different flours are designed for specific uses, but some seem just to be variations on all-purpose. Self-rising flour has baking powder and salt added, so there’s no real reason to buy it for this recipe unless you’re going to use it a lot. (I’m not going to say that too loudly, since I live less than 15 miles from the headquarters of General Mills, which produces both Gold Medal and Pillsbury flour.)
Chicken and biscuits
For the stew
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- ½ pound button mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot cut into ⅓-inch chunks
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2½ cup chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- ½ cup frozen baby peas
For the biscuits
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
For the stew
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots, mushrooms and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots and mushrooms are softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add wine and cook until completely evaporated, about 1 minute.
- Stir in flour and stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer until thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and peas.
For the biscuits
- Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in sage and thyme.
- Blend butter and flour mixture well.
- Stir in ½ cup milk. Add remaining milk gradually until a soft dough forms.
- Using a regular teaspoon or measuring tablespoon, shape the dough into small balls. (There should be 20-22).
Putting it all together
- Top stew with dough balls. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes.
- Turn on the broiler and cook until biscuits are golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
If you want to use self-rising flour for the biscuits, omit the baking powder and salt but used the same amount of flour. (You probably shouldn't use self-rising flour to thicken the stew.)