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Chicken Stew with Biscuits

October 31, 2011

Chicken Stew with Biscuits
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (or 1 rotisserie chicken)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1/2 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
1 cup half & half
3 medium-diced carrots
3 small ribs celery, cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh minced thyme
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into medium dice. You will have 4 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions, carrots & celery over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While vegetables are sautéing, shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken; set aside. Add 1 tablespoon to Dutch oven and saute mushrooms 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of Sherry and deglaze pan. Transfer to bowl with chicken & vegetables. Heat butter over medium heat in again-empty skillet. When foaming subsides, add flour; cook about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, any accumulated chicken juices, and thyme. Bring to simmer, then continue to simmer until sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir in sherry. Add the chicken, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, thyme and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out circles with a 2 inch round cutter.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done. Serves 6 to 8.

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