We hope your memories from childhood include some homemade chicken potpie, not just frozen ones. Here is the perfect opportunity to use half a leftover chicken and some of the biscuits reserved from Sunday night’s dinner.
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock (recipe follows) or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium (4 ounces) carrot peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/8-inch- thick slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small (about 4 ounces) yellow onion peeled and diced
8 ounces white mushrooms quartered
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2/2012 Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Fresh Rosemary skinned, meat cut from bones and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh parsley minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 frozen Herbed Drop Biscuits (see recipe under “Breads”)
4 quarts (about 4 pounds) chicken parts
1 medium carrot unpeeled
1 medium yellow onion unpeeled
1/2 rib celery with leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 cup parsley leaves and stems loosely packed
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set four 12-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet, or use an 8-cup baking dish about 2 inches deep.
In a 1-quart saucepan, bring the stock or broth to a simmer. Add the carrots and simmer until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the carrot to a plate and turn off heat under the stock or broth.
Meanwhile, in a 10-inch sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium heat until the butter foams. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they just begin to brown, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle the flour over the onion-mushroom mixture and stir to dissolve. Immediately add the stock or broth, bring to a simmer, and stir until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, stir to blend, and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and parsley, bring to a simmer, then add salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Divide the chicken mixture among the ramekins or spoon it into the baking dish. Place 2 frozen biscuits on top of the chicken mixture in each ramekin, or evenly space them on top of the chicken mixture in the baking dish. Bake for 12 minutes, or until heated through. Serve immediately.
Start today to develop a very smart habit: Store necks, tails, wing tips, gizzards, hearts, backs, rib (breast) bones-anything except livers-in a gallon-size lock-top freezer bag in your freezer. When the bag is really full, you have enough chicken parts to make a small pot of homemade stock. Squeeze excess air out of the bag each time you add chicken pieces; this helps to prevent dehydration known as freezer burn. There are several time-honored methods of making chicken stock. Here is our simple approach to a basic stock.
Select a heavy 4-quart saucepan or a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Fill it almost to the top with raw chicken parts and cover with cold water, leaving 2 inches of space at top of saucepan or stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce heat so that the liquid simmers steadily. Skim off the brown foam that rises to the top, using a soup skimmer, small tea strainer, or serving spoon. After 5 minutes or so the foam will become white; no more skimming is necessary.
Add remaining ingredients. Cover pot loosely and adjust heat so that the liquid just barely simmers. Simmer stock for 4 to 8 hours, adding water if necessary to keep the bones covered.
Remove bones and meat, draining them thoroughly in a colander or strainer set over a large bowl to catch all the juices. Discard bones and meat and pour the collected drippings into the saucepan or stockpot. Pour the stock through a fine strainer into the large bowl, then back into the pot. Set the pot into a sink filled with cold water, changing water after 10 minutes and again after 20 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Before using the stock, scrape the congealed fat from the surface using a slotted spoon or a large serving spoon. Stock is ready to use. It can be frozen in a container, allowing 1-inch of headspace for up to 6 months. If the stock is needed immediately after it is made, use a gravy strainer or a wide, shallow spoon (held just under the surface) to remove the liquid fat.
Makes 3 to 6 quarts.
If you prefer potatoes in your potpie, skip the mushrooms and add a peeled cubed 8-ounce boiling potato to the stock or broth along with the carrots. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside and add to the pan along with the carrots. Parsnip would also be good. Follow the same procedure as for a potato. If you like peas, add 1/2 cup frozen peas when you add the chicken and parsley.
Put the chicken carcass in a lock-top plastic bag, label it, and freeze it to save for making stock.