Friday, March 11, 2011

"The Perfect Recipe"? Perhaps Not. But They Liked It

I found a copy of Pam Anderson's "The Perfect Recipe" in the book donations at the library the other day and brought it home.

The title should have tipped me to the fact that Pam Anderson worked for Christopher Kimball of "Cook's" magazine and TV shows for years and that would have made me cynical. Though I've occasionally found a recipe from Cook's that I've liked, and their review have tipped me off to a good item or two for my kitchen, most of the time I find them downright pretentious, and a lot of their recipes are way too complicated. And they may think theirs are "best", but a lot of mine are pretty durn good--and I can get them on the table by dinner time on a week night!

Tonight I decided to use some of last Sunday's leftover chicken in a pot pie. I've made similar things in the past, both the cream of mushroom soup way and with a simple chicken stock. But I wanted to try this cream sauce version.

This is a little more fiddly than what I'd usually make on a weeknight, but it's Friday so a later dinner wasn't a problem. It was still faster than the original recipe because I had cooked chicken on hand and I had frozen mirepoix--the blend of onion, celery and carrots that is the base of so many recipes--that I had bought at Wegmans weeks ago and stashed in my freezer.

I hadn't made rolled out buttermilk biscuits before--I may have moved south of the Mason-Dixon line 22 years ago, but I'm a NYC girl, and biscuits just weren't part of my upbringing. But I've made drop biscuits before and there's always the reduced fat version of Bisquick in my pantry. And that's faster and healthier than Anderson's recipe.

So I made the biscuits from the mix and they rolled like a dream. In fact, the only thing that didn't work as expected was the white sauce, which to me was too soupy.

But the kids and the Man all liked it. And the sauce thickened once it had been sitting for a little while.

Not that there was much left sitting. This really did go over well!

Chicken Pot Pie W/Buttermilk Biscuit Topping

2 cups cooked chicken chopped into bite size pieces
8-12 oz mirepoix mix OR
1 cup chopped onion (frozen or fresh) 3 diced carrots & 2 diced celery ribs
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter 
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup frozen peas (thaw in cold water)
1 tsp of dry thyme

For the biscuits:
2 cups Bisquick (regular or reduced fat)
2/3 cup skim milk

Make the biscuits first. Just blend milk and Bisquick together in a bowl until you have a soft dough.
Turn it out onto a flour or Bisquick covered surface and knead until dough it smooth and no longer sticky.
Roll it out to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Set it aside while you make the filling:

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, cook the mirepoix vegetables until softened.
If you are using fresh vegetables, add a small amount of oil to the pan, frozen vegs require no oil, but cook them until they've released most of their water.
Take the vegetables from the pan and add them to the diced chicken. Set this aside.

In the same pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute, then slowly begin to add first the broth and then the milk, stirring continuously to blend the liquids into the roux. Cook on a low to medium heat until it begins to thicken.
Original recipe says "1 minute", but this took at least 5, and even then still wasn't very thick.

Add the thyme and black pepper to taste, then mix in the chicken and vegetables. Add the peas.

Put the filling into a 9x13 pan.

Cut the dough into 8-12  2" rounds and place them on top of the filling.
I cut some of the circles in half and placed them down the middle.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Biscuits will be light brown and filling will be bubbly.


  1. When you say Pam Anderson, I think Pamela Anderson. Couldn't really imagine her cooking a chicken pot pie....

    I used to love chicken pot pie, and it's certainly a kid-friendly dish, but my husband doesn't like anything in gravy, so I've never made it.

    We subscribe to Cook's, but I have to delete Chris Kimball's monthly letters without reading because he annoys me.

  2. He annoys me beyond belief. Smug little git in a bow tie. I usually love cooking shows, but in his case I make an exception....



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