The City 2-Step Chicken Pot Pie

or a marriage of methods, crockpot to oven, slow cooker comfort food at its best.

I'm a sucker for a good homestyle meal, this should come as no surprise considering my recent focus on comfort food here on the blog, but I don't always have time to put the necessary care into making some of these heart warming dishes.  In fact, as a result of our busy schedules with work and other activities there are some that only make it to our table once every few years.  A travesty, I know.  So how can these long neglected meals be made accessible on a more regular basis?  This quandary has puzzled me for some time, and unable to tackle all of these such meals at once I decided to focus first on one in particular that my husband has been *somewhat* patiently been asking for - chicken pot pie. 

Now I am generally too worn out at the end of the day between work, the wintry weather, and the shorter periods of daylight to put the energy into a meal like this.  I have made a couple different versions in the past, my favorite of which was Chicken and Dumplings Pot Pie, but I never really enjoyed a lot of the recipes that I came across that offered typical time saving "short cuts."  They just lacked a richness and depth of flavor that I expect from chicken pot pie.  So I began to consider ways to get that same flavor without all the hands on time, naturally I settled on my slow cooker.  I have relied on my trusty slow cooker to bring together the delicious flavors of chili, soups, honey ginger chicken, and even creamy chicken scampi, so why not chicken pot pie?  The obvious obstacle was the topping, it simply won't crisp while the pie is cooking.  So the finish takes a little extra love, good food is worth it (particularly when it means only 20 extra minutes of attention at the end of the day) and your oven and slow cooker will work together to bring this homestyle dish to your table any day of the week. 

Here's where we begin: the essentials

6-8 chicken tender
4 cups chicken stock
8 oz frozen corn
8 oz frozen broccoli
8 oz frozen green beans
1/2 cup carrots, medium dice
1/2 cup celery, diced small
3 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp each: garlic powder, dried parsley, celery salt, house spice blend

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour

2 cups baking mix (I use James Beard's basic recipe or a ready made mix, i.e. Bisquick)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp each: ground Rosemary, dried parsley, garlic powder, kosher salt

Hardware: slow cooker/crockpot, 6 individual or 1 large baking dish
View full recipe
1. Add the chicken stock to the slow cooker, stir in the fresh vegetables and spices.

2. Cut chicken tenders into 1" pieces and add to the slow cooker, stir to combine.  Then add the frozen vegetables and mix well.  Turn to low and cook, covered, for 6-8 hours.

3. Stir in the condensed soup and turn the slow cooker to high.  Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to create a golden roux (paste-like consistency).  Stir or whisk the milk into the roux slowly then mix into the pie filling until well blended.  It may take a few seconds to get it fully incorporated but it will thicken up the filling nicely and is definitely worth the effort.  Allow the mixture to continue to cook while preparing the biscuit tops.

4. For the biscuit tops - combine the baking mix, spices, and cheese.  Then stir in the milk until a sticky dough forms. 

5. Pour the pie filling into either a large baking dish or 6 individual serving sized baking dishes.  Drop the biscuit mix in a thin layer over the filling, too heavy of drops will sink too much so watch it as you go at the beginning so that you can get the feel for how much to use.  Don't worry if the first few sink, it will just create a dumpling style filling in that spot, which I personally enjoy, just add a touch more on top so some of it is showing.

7. For any remaining mix - drop tablespoon sized biscuits onto a greased or parchment covered baking sheet and place in the oven with the chicken pot pie.  Bake at 450 F for 10 min or until the biscuit tops start to turn golden on the peaks.

Let the pot pie sit for a few minutes before serving to cool a bit and settle.  Scoop into bowl if using one large dish and serve along side any biscuits that were made with the remaining dough.  I prefer to leave some of the pot pie filling in the slow cooker to have for lunch with the extra biscuits, that way when you reheat it the topping won't be there to get soggy but you'll still have those delicious biscuit to eat along side or to break up and drop on top once hot.  You may want to add to the seasoning a bit to your preference, just taste it and make adjustments before pouring it into the baking dish. 

I consider this more of a "city" version of the dish because of the use of frozen vegetables and the slow cooker factor, you can certainly use fresh vegetables instead but it will take considerably more time to prep.  Look at that dish, how can you say no to that crispy golden goodness resting a top such a rich creamy center?  Admit it, you can't.  Even if you've shied away from chicken pot pie in the past I suggest taking on this simple version for yourself, who knows?  Maybe you'll come around...  Give it a try, add your own little twists, and as always - enjoy!

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