When I think about a rich, creamy, savory, and piping-hot chicken pot pie with a delectably buttery, drop-biscuit crust that gently lays over the top nestling everything beneath it lovingly in, I get a very cozy and fuzzy feeling inside.
It makes me think of childhood, when I would hide under a fluffy pile of pillows, or roll myself into a large, soft and thick blanket that would make me completely disappear, and give me that comforting feeling of warmth, safety, and protection; that feeling of being “underneath” something that was heavy and warm, and soothing to my soul.
And though I’m no longer a little girl that relishes building forts under the dining room table that I can get lost under and escape the world in, I still carry with me the desire to tuck myself away under a cozy-protective layer; only these days, I prefer that soft layer to be one of love, mercy, and kindness.
The world can be a scary place for the sensitive soul; it can be a loud, brash, unapologetic, and accosting place.
And in order for a soul like mine to be able to live a balanced, healthy, and joyful existence, it must have a space to take some shelter in, and to melt into what is good, refreshing, nourishing, and uplifting.
And what marvelous little spaces we’ve been provided with, indeed.
Gratitude can be abundant when we realize that we potentially have many, many little “blankets” to tuck ourselves under and luxuriate in for at least a little while, all around us.
We have safe havens in our spouses, when they show us some much-needed tenderness, compassion, and love; we have them in our friends and in our neighbors, when they reach out to us with their concern and care, just to let us know that they’re there when we need them; we have them in our children who reach out their arms to hug us tight, and whisper to us (even if it is a bit more sporadic as they get older), “I love you”.
We have little “forts” of privacy in each delicious moment of prayer, which truly can happen as often as one takes a breath and has a thought, a hope, and a desire.
So while I no longer daydream under a tall stack of thick pillows, I can certainly feel the very real and present sensation that a cozy layer of love, mercy, and kindness provides, and allow myself to relish and enjoy that whenever I need a moment of quiet escape.
After all, are we not all just like children that need to be wrapped in care, acknowledgement, compassion, and understanding?
Do we ever really grow out of wanting to be covered with a layer of protective, soft, and comforting love?
It is that very desire that keeps us looking for home, that time and space from which we emanate, to reunite with All that is good and comforting.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Roasted Chicken and Winter Veggie Pot Pie Casserole with Buttery Herbed Drop-Biscuit Crust
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6-8
• 2 ½ – 3 pounds split chicken breasts (2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts)
• Black pepper
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 leeks (white part only), quartered and sliced
• 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
• 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• Pinch white pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 ½ ounces all-purpose flour (about 8 generous tablespoons)
• 4 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
• Herbed Drop-Biscuits (recipe below)
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
-Place the chicken onto the baking sheet, and sprinkle it with a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper; roast for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and juicy; allow it to cool until it can be handled, then remove the skin and bones, and dice the chicken; set aside.
-While the chicken roasts, place a large pot over medium-high heat, and add in the butter; once melted, add in the leeks, carrots, and parsnips, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute the veggies until they start to become tender, about 6-7 minutes.
-Add in the Italian seasoning, the white pepper, and the garlic, and stir to incorporate; once the garlic becomes aromatic, sprinkle the flour in and stir to combine; cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, to allow the raw flavor of the flour to cook out.
-Next, slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking all the while to avoid lumps; allow the sauce to come to a rolling simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer it gently on low for about 10-15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and the sauce is thickened.
-Turn off the heat and add in the diced chicken, the peas, chopped parsley, and the thyme, and stir to combine.
-Turn the temperature of your oven up to 425°, and very lightly butter a medium-large baking or casserole dish.
-Prepare your drop-biscuit dough (recipe below).
-To assemble, pour the chicken pot pie filling into the prepared casserole dish, and using a tablespoon, drop generous dollops of the drop-biscuit dough over the top to cover; brush the tops of the biscuits with a little of the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
-Place the casserole into oven (you could even place the baking dish onto a baking sheet for easier removal and clean-up in case of drips), and bake for about 22-26 minutes, or until the biscuit crust is golden-brown; allow to cool for about 10 minutes before tucking in.
Herbed Drop-Biscuit Crust Ingredients:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 tablepoon sugar
• ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
• 1 ½ tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
-Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.
-Add in the ½ cup of melted butter, the buttermilk, and the chopped parsley, and gently stir those in just until everything is incorporated (take care not to over-mix to keep the biscuits fluffy!)
(*If using this recipe to make individual drop biscuits, not for the casserole, bake heaping tablespoon-fulls on a baking sheet for about 14-16 minutes until golden.)