what’s cooking at the library

Did you know that your local library has cookbooks? I didn’t until my friend Wendy told me that there was half a shelf of Barefoot Contessa books waiting for me. So I went and checked out Barefoot Contessa Family Style and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and made this:

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I have never really liked chicken pot pie. That bottom layer of soggy pie crust and the soupy filling with a few chunks of chewy chicken disappointed me every time my mom served it. Fast forward 30 years to this glorious reinvention of the 1970s classic: Chicken Stew with Biscuits. YUM! The little foodies LOVED this recipe, as did the adults. It certainly isn’t lowfat and it takes some time, but it’s comfort food through and through. Other than not adding parsley to the biscuit dough, we followed the directions exactly, and it turned out perfectly. The most important part of this recipe is using the bone-in chicken breasts. When roasted, the chicken becomes very tender and is flavored by the constant basting of the skin, which you remove after cooking. This fed the six of us twice, with a couple of lunch servings in between.

I can’t wait to get back to the library to see who else is waiting to be checked out. Any suggestions?

For more tips, check out Works-For-Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

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Chicken Stew with Biscuits

from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

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.

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade [I used Pacific brand, which is the best broth I’ve found]
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes [make sure you do this or your carrots will be too hard]
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

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 [we didn’t add this to the biscuits]
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. 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 large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.
  4. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the chopped onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.
  5. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, small whole onions, 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 lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. 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 twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter [or the rim of a glass].
  8. 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.
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10 thoughts on “what’s cooking at the library

  1. Those biscuits were fantastic! I’d like to make them sometime.

    Have you ever tried the Chicken Pot Pie at Costco? They make it, so it’s in the deli section (unbaked). It’s really tasty, but Terry hates Chicken Pot Pie, so I never make anything like that.

  2. That looks so yummy!

    I rarely leave our library without a few cookbooks. Well, I guess I did today but that’s because I already had 3 at home to finish looking through. 🙂

  3. That chicken pot pie looks amazing! The one and only time I’ve tried something like this, the biscuits were doughy inside and in the end I had to take them off and bake them separately. Maybe I will try again!

    Thanks for the comment back! My husband and I put together a picture slide show of my dad’s life set to “Closer to You” for his memorial service. Before he died he kept saying how he was looking forward to meeting his Lord but couldn’t bear the thought of leaving his family, if even for a time. The song captured that struggle perfectly. Praise the Lord this separation is temporary!

    So sorry about the loss of Lacy. I remember being touched when I read the story in the CD booklet when I first got it. I even had the booklet signed by Mark at a concert one time! He sure writes universally resonating lyrics. How did Mark know Lacy? She must have been a strong, faithful woman and I’m sure you are blessed to have had her in your life!

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