Chicken and Biscuits

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This is not my usual chicken pot pie. This was inspired by Colleen of Leen Cuisine. Should we call this chicken cobbler because of the biscuit topping? Maybe, maybe not.

I had thawed two chicken breasts and needed to cook them. However, I had not thawed the disk of pie dough nor did I think I had my frozen mixed vegetables which is my “go to” veggie filler for dinner dishes. When I got home after work I found that I did not have frozen mixed vegetables. I did, however, find the frozen peas that I had bought for our Thanksgiving feast but did not use.

Do you know there are women/cooks who do not use frozen vegetables? I am super impressed that they cook real vegetables for dinner every night. I don’t expect to live up to that standard.

  • 1 tablespoon butter and about that in olive oil, too
  • 1 can grand type biscuits
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into “pennies”
  • 1/2 large onion, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic from jar
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by putting a little oil or butter in the skillet to saute the garlic, onion, and carrots. Cook these for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like additional spices, you would add them here. If, not just sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. Remove these vegetables to the baking dish or pie pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add a little more oil to skillet and cook the chicken until no longer pink, maybe 5-6 minutes. Add a little of the broth to the pan and the vegetables, this time add the peas. Stir the cornstarch into the rest of the broth add to the skillet, and heat on high for a few minutes. Move this concoction from the skillet into the baking dish. Stir the cheese into this.

Remove the biscuits from their tube. And arrange artfully on top of the baking dish. Since all the ingredients are cooked it is just a matter of cooking the biscuits. Since the bottom of the biscuits are in the “stew” they will take a bit longer to cook than the directions on the tube.

I baked this for 20 minutes and then covered loosely with foil to keep warm in the oven while waiting for Hubby to come home. This dinner came together in less than an hour.

I served this with jarred pickled beets from an orchard in the Adirondacks. They did not disappoint! And the cucumber salad is similar to the salad Son made for Sister and me  when we visited him in Armenia. Thinly sliced cucumber and carrots, tomatoes, and green onions in a vinaigrette.

I had intended to make a green salad but the lettuce had gone rusty and was promptly added to the compost bucket. I like having a compost bucket. The service picks it up every other week. When I have to throw away food I know that it is being put to good use. With that, and our town recycling nearly everything in sight, our trash bin is getting emptier and emptier. Just my little part for the environment…I hope everyone can do a little something.

 

Down on the Farm

After a weekend away visiting my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter we were at home and supper time was coming. What to have?

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My daughter does not live on a farm, but the town she lives in is more rural than where I live. There was a wild turkey walking through her backyard Saturday morning. Son wondered out loud if anyone was wanting turkey for dinner? Son is home and he came along to visit his sister before heading off to The Last Frontier for his next job! Truth be told though a few years ago a wild turkey was walking up our street and at first glance I wondered what type of tall dog was that?

For the weekend we were in the presence of some farm markets. And there was a booth set up at the town park. And granddaughter LOVES the park! She swung on the swing with Grandpop while I checked out the booth. I came away with farm fresh eggs (the hen lays 5 eggs every two days so it takes three days to get a dozen) and a small jar of honey; they have bees, too.

I have not mastered the art of biscuit making.The Elusive Biscuit. I read all sorts of recipes and the best I can figure is that one needs to use self-rising flour, and to not twist the biscuit cutter when cutting the dough. Well, biscuits would be a nice way to taste the honey but I do not have self-rising flour. Son and Hubby think breakfast for dinner would be fine. We had just bought a bunch of uncooked, fresh (now frozen) breakfast sausage links and they will be easy enough to cook without hours of thawing.

I have sourdough starter. I think that this may be the answer to the biscuits if I can use unfed starter. I have old, yellowed, newspaper clippings that my Mom put together for me when I first (eons ago) wanted to bake with sourdough. If we had an idea, Mom was there! For example, I was going to make my wedding dress out of muslin with my bridesmaids naturally dying their dresses of muslin as well. Mom bought 10 (TEN!) yards of muslin for me AND I had not even met the groom yet! What a Mom!

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I gather the ingredients (I use butter even though I have lard on hand) and while putting it all together realize that I only have 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I ask Son who is on his computer to look up a substitute. He says to use two teaspoons vinegar. Okay. That I do.

Now while these are baking, the sausages get cooked on the cast iron griddle and the eggs are cooked by Hubby in the cast iron skillet.

Serve all this up on a plate and let us see what the taste testers say.

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The biscuits are a hit. This recipe made 8 biscuits; the sourdough gave them a nice flavor and the texture was good. All three of us noted the difference in the taste of the eggs from the regular supermarket ones, and the honey was wonderful. Definitely not the taste of the honey that comes out of a plastic bear!

 

The Elusive Biscuit

bread and biscuits 002These are not biscuits. These are no knead dinner rolls from a Betty Crocker website. Very easy, very quick, and very good hot out of the oven. Do not put these in the microwave the next day as they will become hard as rocks. I did not get to eat a leftover roll with my salad at lunch the next day. Oops!

I have not been very successful at making biscuits. They usually end up like hockey pucks. Maybe when first out of the oven and very hot with melted butter they taste okay. I avoid this whole fiasco by baking muffins and popovers instead.

But my quest is to make biscuits that are enjoyable, light and fluffy, and do not have the chemical taste of canned biscuits. I made one of the recipes from KAF 200th anniversary cookbook, page 69, Bert’s Buttermilk Biscuits using the food processor method. They were good. They had a crisp outside. And they were fine the next morning as well. But they were small and were not fluffy.

bread and biscuits 006Getting them ready for the oven and

right out of the oven.bread and biscuits 012

Now for Grandma’s biscuits. My brother asked me not to share the recipe so I won’t. Let us just say it has a heck of a lot of lard in it. I cannot bring myself to use that amount of lard. No, no way! I am looking up biscuit recipes on the internet and in my many cookbooks and there is nothing that comes close to the amount of lard Grandma used, if my brother’s recollection is accurate. What to do?

After a more extensive search I find one, just one, recipe that calls for ½ cup lard AND ½ cup butter. So that is close enough so here goes…but I am still not sure. And those were baked at 500 degrees! Most recipes call for a 400 or 425 degree oven (Fahrenheit).

The other issue is that the “best” recipes are using self-rising flour. Grandma did not use self-rising flour. I don’t have self-rising flour. I do know how to make it myself though. Plenty of instructions on the internet. Here’s one: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/homemade-self-rising-flour.html. What to do? Also the best biscuits are made with a sticky dough. I do end up adding a scant ¼ cup more of buttermilk. I bake these in a cast iron skillet. I am careful not to over handle the dough.

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bread and biscuits 022 bread and biscuits 024Here they are.

Crumbly,

bigger than the others.

Crumbly, I may have under baked them so I leave them in the oven a few minutes longer. I miss the butter flavor. I am not sure if I would describe them as light. Maybe next time, using half butter. And half the amount of fat! Hubby likes them but would like them to be less crumbly but likes the crustiness. Could be lighter on the inside. Will be great with jelly. He tasted the butter which was brushed on top. I was disappointed in the rise. I think they taste like Grandma, fat and floury!

These are big enough to toast on the griddle the next morning. Be sure to add butter and jam. They still are missing the buttery flavor. The fat and flour fill the mouth.

The verdict: we are not biscuit people. I should go back to muffins, rolls, and popovers. However there are more biscuit options to try. Perhaps sour dough biscuits will be next. My mother cut out recipes from the newspaper many years ago that featured a variety of breads to make with sour dough starter. These are yellowing in one of my notebooks but still legible. A friend from church recently gave me a portion of his starter that he made from scratch (without yeast) two years ago.  There’s also the possibility of getting some self-rising flour. I’ll have to see what strikes my fancy next!