Looking back, I never knew how lucky I was to have experienced growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Waking up on quiet mornings where the only sound was that of the meadow lark calling to his mate, or the buzzing of the locusts as darkness filled the evening sky.
Many of the ways of daily rural life I took for granted. My mother baking our bread every few days, collecting fresh eggs in the nesting boxes for breakfast, or going out to the garden to select what was desired for dinner. Little did I know at the time that these day-to-day ways of living would later become the popular trends now known as natural foods, organic produce, and free range chicken and eggs.
I also recall one of my favorite meals my mother would prepare, chicken pot pie. Made with vegetables picked straight from the garden, a freshly butchered chicken, and home-made biscuits, this was truly a pan of goodness. Country living at its best. I still love to make a version of the chicken pot pie. I am sad to say I don’t have a garden to pick from, or a yard to go catch a hen in, but I do have the cast iron skillet that cradled the dish I so fondly remember.
To prepare Chicken Pot Pie:
Cooks Note: This is a one skillet dish. Use a cast iron skillet or an oven proof pan suitable for baking. Feel free to add, substitute or delete and items you like to make this dish yours.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ½ cup mushrooms, sliced or quartered
- ¼ cup celery, sliced
- ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups medium béchamel sauce
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons dill or parsley, rough chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tube Pillsbury Grands or similar (feel free to make your own if you like)
Begin by heating oven to 350°F. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes and lightly brown in a skillet over medium high heat. When golden, remove from pan and reserve. In the same skillet sauté together onion, celery, and pepper until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for one minute.
Reduce the heat to low and add the white wine to the skillet of vegetables, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan. In a separate sauce pan, make 2 cups of medium thick béchamel sauce. When thickened add to the vegetables. Add the mixed vegetables. Simmer until thick and bubbling, then add cheese and herbs, mixing well. Remove from heat.
Cut biscuits into quarters and arrange on the top of the chicken vegetable mixture, starting in the center and working out.
Place skillet on a sheet pan (can bubble over) and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow dish to cool for about 5 minutes before digging in.
Cooks Note: Skillet will be heavy and hot, use caution when removing from oven.
Since we live in Denver, we also sometimes refer to this dish as the DIA bake (Denver International Airport).