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.
Recipe NotesIf 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.)