Saturday Dinner: Chicken and Biscuits

The Kid was sick (not sick enough to visit the doctors, but she has some sort of upper respiratory thing) this weekend, which is not good for The Wife or me. My daughter, light of my life, is unfortunately just a step above me on the “Lousy Patient” scale (Of course, we’re both infinitely better than The Father-In-Law, who can turn a sore throat into a stage four cancer). As we all sat on the couch this morning watching “My Little Pony,” I asked The Wife what she wanted for dinner. I got a lot of silence before she said, “I don’t know. Like mac and cheese or something like that.”

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See, The Wife didn’t actually want macaroni and cheese. She wants “comfort food.” Something heavy and thick that warms you from the inside. A stew or baked pasta. Something braised. But, with no actual direction, I could make what I wanted.

And what I wanted was chicken and biscuits.

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Now, had I asked this questions a few hours earlier, I could have gone to the CNY Regional Market and bought fresh biscuits from one of the ladies that brings them each weekend. But, I was left with two options at 1 p.m.: Make my own or Womp biscuits. Making my own involves a lot of flour getting all over the kitchen and, potentially, causing a Celiac attack for The Kid. In the interest of cleanup and convenience, I went with the tube of Womp biscuits (Womp because that is the sound they make when the tube of Pillsbury Grands hits the edge of the counter and pops.). Not my finest effort in that department, but good biscuits are a tough get in Syracuse.

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WHAT WORKED: Ordinarily, I would use whatever chicken was in my freezer, but I grabbed a whole chicken that had already been broken down. I’m glad I did, because I could incorporate light and dark meat. 

WHAT DIDN’T: Fresh biscuits are always the preference, but what can you do?

EASE OF PREPARATION: Medium. I recommend a variety of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, so you will spend time breaking down your bird. Your grocer should have whole chickens that have already been cut into pieces. Either do that, or go with the chicken pieces you like best.

BEST FOR: Those Saturdays when your wife says she wants comfort food.

SERVE WITH: A smile. Or a saison. Whatever it takes.

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Chicken and Biscuits
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 2015-01-31 at 15-59-523 tbsp. plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • one bunch of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, washed and sliced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken-flavored Knorr Homestyle Stock cup (right), or 2 tbsp. chicken soup base
  • 8 oz. frozen peas
  • 4 cooked biscuits, warm

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Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl with a fork or whisk. Set aside.

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Heat 3 tbsp. of oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. When it shimmers, reduce the heat to medium-high. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, coating each piece and shaking off the excess flour, and add to the hot oil. Cook in batches as to not crowd the chicken in the pan. Brown chicken on each side and transfer to a clean plate to cool. Repeat until all of the chicken is browned. Remove the oil from the heat and set aside on your stovetop.

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When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut the meat away from the bone and add to a bowl, discarding the bones and as much of the skin as you can. Cut the meat down into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

2015-01-31 at 16-04-58Return the oil to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the carrots and celery, cooking until the celery becomes fragrant. Add the chicken and toss with the veggies, cooking 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and add the Knorr stock. Bring broth to a boil, boil for 1 minute, and reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover and cook 2 hours.

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In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the remaining flour and oil. Make a roux using a flat whisk and stirring constantly. When the roux turns a medium brown color, remove from heat and stir into the stew. Let cook 1 to 2 additional minutes, stirring frequently.

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Add biscuits to a bowl, and ladle stew over the top.

 

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