What a tremendous blessing the Creator has given us in relationships. Last weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure of spending some time with a dear friend of ours, who we hadn’t connected with in far too long, over a bite to eat at a local hole-in-the-wall eatery. Actually, eating became an afterthought as we chatted away, each of us sharing where we were, individually, at this point in our journey. A couple of hours slipped away far too quickly, and if it wasn’t for the fact that other patrons would be needing our table, and that our parking meters were just minutes away from expiring, we surely would have sat together several more hours without a thought, hungrily connecting and gaining greater depth with one another. Much can be revealed in relationships: our capability for tenderness, for honesty, for compassion and for love for another human being; but our weaknesses can be revealed, too. It is only in relationship that we gain an insight into our character — how we truly feel about others — to see who we ourselves are on the inside. If there were no relationships, no friendships, what could we compare our own selves against? Where could one go to truly see one’s self, if not in the face of another human being? What would be the purpose of our existence if not for what we mean to one another?
A relationship is like a meal; it can take a bit of time to prepare with proper seasoning and gentle simmering, but it is enriching because it is partaken of with others. It is like a cozy, home-made, chicken chili verde pot pie with a tender, buttery, biscuit crust that one has to break through first in order to get into the deeper, richer part beneath; that warm broth that contains all of the delicious elements that sustain and feed one’s hungry soul. Relationships can fill us up with comfort and gladness in the fact that someone else needs us, and we too need them in order to experience our most complete existence. A relationship is an opportunity to take the focus off of one’s self, and place that warm spotlight onto someone else. It is what we were designed to do, what the inner-most part of ourself compels us to do, if we listen. The relationships that we have with others, whether close relationships or even acquaintances, are blessings that give us some insight into ourselves: who we’ve been, who we are, and who we’d ideally like to be. Without other people and the variety of things that they individually bring to life’s table, we wouldn’t have the chance to be gently abraded, polished and then refined; we wouldn’t experience empathy for another, or have the gift of empathy poured out onto us; we wouldn’t have the chance to have those things that are “buttons” for us be exposed and eradicated; we wouldn’t have the opportunity to say to someone, “I’m sorry” or “I love you”. None of these things would be experienced if it wasn’t for the blessing of relationships.
What a thing it is to experience growth and evolution through relationships; what a thing it is to savor the taste of a nourishing connection to another human being. Relationships are what the human experience is all about; they are what give us our purpose and meaning. My hope and desire on a personal level is to not resist relationships and all of the colors that they contain because they can be challenging, but to embrace each and every opportunity to grab a hold of one, and to help it along its way, while it fragrantly simmers and develops into something life-sustaining and delicious like a chicken chili pot pie with a tender, buttery, biscuit crust that fulfills and satisfies to the very core.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Individual Chicken Chili Verde Pot Pies with Sweet White Corn, Topped with a Buttery, Cheddar-Biscuit Crust
Print this recipe
(Makes 4 individual servings using 2 cup-sized oven-proof bowls)
• Cheddar Biscuit Crusts (recipe below)
2 large, split chicken breasts (about 1 ½ – 2 lbs), bone-in and skin on
• Olive oil
• Freshly cracked black pepper
1 – 1 ¼ lbs tomatillos, husks and stems removed, and quartered
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
1 chili verde pepper (Hungarian, Banana or Anaheim pepper), halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 whole cloves garlic, papers removed
½ cup, loosely packed, fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock, hot
2 cups white corn kernels (frozen and thawed)
2 tablespoons buttermilk, to brush onto crusts
½ cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese, for garnish
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line two baking sheets with foil.
-Preparing the Cheddar Biscuit Crusts, and wrap each of them in plastic wrap and set them aside in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
-Next, place the two split chicken breasts on one of the foil-lined baking sheets, and very lightly drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper over; set aside for a moment.
-In a bowl, toss together the quartered tomatillos, the chopped onion, jalapeno, chili verde pepper and garlic cloves with a light drizzle of olive oil, and a couple of generous pinches of salt and pepper (this will be the “salsa verde” for your stew); turn this mixture out next to the chicken breasts on the same foil-lined baking sheet, and roast them side by side for 40 minutes.
-After roasting, remove the chicken breasts and place them onto a clean plate to cool slightly until they can be handled, about 15 minutes; using a slotted spoon, spoon the tomatillo/pepper/onion/garlic mixture into a bowl and allow it to slightly cool, for about 5 minutes; next, add the tomatillo/pepper/onion/garlic mixture to the bowl of a food processor, along with the fresh cilantro leaves and honey, and pulse/process for a moment or two just until it becomes a “salsa” consistency; set aside for a moment; once chicken has cooled slightly, pull the skin off and remove the ribs/bones, and discard those; dice the chicken meat into small, bite-size chunks, and set aside for a moment.
-Next, prepare the base for the pot pie by placing a medium-size pot over medium heat; add in the butter, and once melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine to create your “roux”, or thickener; allow the roux to cook for about 1 minute to cook out the raw flour taste; next, add in the hot chicken stock, whisking all the while to avoid lumps, and allow it to thicken for just a moment (it will be quite thick, like a thick paste – don’t worry; this is exactly how it should look); turn the heat off from under it, and add in the “salsa verde” (the pureed tomatillo/pepper/onion/garlic mixture), along with the diced chicken and the white corn; check your seasoning, and add additional salt/pepper, if needed.
-To prepare and bake the pot pies, reduce the oven temp to 375°; ladle equal amounts of the pot pie mixture into each oven-proof bowl, and top each one with a Cheddar Biscuit Crust, pressing gently down to fit the crust into the rim of the bowl; next, brush each crust with a touch of the buttermilk, place the pot pies onto the other foil-lined sheet tray, and bake them for about 20 minutes; after 20 minutes, sprinkle a touch of the grated white cheddar cheese over each crust, and bake an additional 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. (*These will be very hot right out of the oven; give them about 10-12 minutes to set/lightly cool before you dive in!)
Cheddar Biscuit Crust ingredients (makes 4, 4” crust tops, OR, makes about 20, 2” biscuits, if desired):
3 cups flour
1tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 ¼ cup cold buttermilk
1 cup, scant, grated sharp white cheddar
-In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and black pepper to blend well; next, add in the cold butter, and using a pastry cutter or forks (or even your fingers), cut the butter into the flour very well until the mixture resembles coarse meal or has pea-sized pieces of butter; add the cold buttermilk into the center, along with the grated cheese, and using a firm spatula, gently fold/blend the flour into the buttermilk/cheese until the dough begins to come together; once it begins to come together, use your hands to bring it together and shape it into a ball/mound, very gently pressing the dough together; turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently roll it out to about ¼” thickness, maintaining a circular shape as much as possible.
-To make the crust tops, use your serving bowls as a guide by pressing the rim of the bowl into the dough just enough to create a slight indentation, or marker, for yourself; remove the bowl and cut along the inside of the indentation/marker to cut out a circle, or crust top; do this 3 more times to create a total of 4 crust tops; wrap each crust top in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out, and place in the fridge to hold and keep cold while you prepare the rest of the recipe. (*If you have left-over dough, you can cut biscuits out, chill, and bake off later.)