I am so. ready. for. FALL. It’s felt like a long time coming after such a particularly hot and sticky summer featuring what felt like so many late in the game heatwaves, and I have been dreaming of boots and cozy sweaters and long walks through crunchy leaves. And food, of course. So when things finally started to feel fall-ish last weekend, I decided to jump right in with the first really comfy comfort food of the season for Saturday night dinner with our lovely friends Cristina and Tom. And the comfort food that I chose to celebrate the seasonal shift? Chicken pot pie with cream cheese and chive biscuits.
Chicken pot pie has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little girl. My introduction to the genre was the frozen Stouffer’s version, which I’ve always thought was fantastic. Frozen dinners were definitely a sometimes treat growing up, and if I got to choose I almost always chose pot pie (the occasional lasagna snuck in there, too). And while it’s been many a year since I had a frozen pot pie, I still think of them as the classic ideal–flaky crust, creamy sauce, plenty of veggies and lots of chicken. But there’s room in my heart for variations as well, thanks to my mom, who used to make a delicious chicken pot pie-like base in little puff pasty cups, setting a high bar for alterna versions.
Alterna versions like this fabulous biscuit variation from Joy the Baker. A very traditional base full of chicken, peas, carrots and zucchini is spruced up with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon, and topped with cream cheese and chive biscuits. In general I’d rather make a biscuit than roll out a pie crust, which is part of why this recipe originally appealed to me so much. And I loved how make-ahead-able it looked: you can make the biscuits early and keep them on a cookie sheet in the fridge as you go about your other bitness. You can also chop your veggies ahead of time, and the recipe calls for pre-cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken is a great move here, or any leftovers you happen to have. I opted to poach chicken in the microwave, using a technique my mom taught me:
My mom included this tip in the recipe book she made for my cousin Jenny’s wedding back in 2001, and it is SO handy. I used it twice last week, once for this pot pie and again to make my favorite chicken curry. And my mom was right: it is handy! That said, while I proved to myself just how great this recipe is to make ahead the first time around, this time I didn’t quite follow through. Though I cooked and chopped my chicken and prepped all of my veggies ahead of time, I didn’t do what previous experience has taught my I absolutely should have done–and what I would highly recommend you do–and make the biscuits early in the day. Instead I put them off, and had a little dough covered freakout about twenty minutes before our sweet friends were due to come over. Luckily, they only live about a five minute walk away, so Hal texted them and asked them to delay their arrival by a few minutes. Thank heavens for kind husbands and friends, and for recipes that are in fact really wonderfully easy when you calm down and get to it.
This recipe is perfect for easing in to a new cozier season, and for a casual dinner party (or for a dinner for one or two, and really fabulous leftovers all week). It rides a really great line between homey and special, simple and decadent. Mini freakout aside, it felt so good to be in the kitchen, mixing and kneading and whisking, and standing over the stove without first needing to turn the air conditioner on. And people get PSYCHED for pot pie.