Comfort Foods in the Winter

I’m just back from a short spring break vacation where there were ice storms to home where there are still feet of snow covering everything and the roofs are trying to hang on. We have two leaks, so far, and are waiting for the thaw to see how bad it will really be. One bathroom pipe has tried to freeze up twice, but then came back each time without busting. While visiting the granddaughter, et al., I only cooked twice, both times with a similar theme—meat, gravy, vegetables. Yesterday, out of a lack of innovation or gumption or just because I’m tired from the cold I picked up there, I repeated one of the meals just for us and added a chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday.

I made the ubiquitous chicken and biscuits casserole. You can find variations of this casserole that are all dump-in, usually using canned cream soup and refrigerated biscuit dough, and a few from scratch, like Ina Garten’s that uses homemade biscuits. I did a little of both.

And then I made Martha Stewart’s “Flourless Chocolate Cake,” which is really simple, as long as you follow the directions in the handy video at the top of the directions. I won’t repeat the recipe here, as I didn’t add anything to the original.

Chicken, Vegetables, and Biscuits Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°

Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

3 cups diced poached chicken from 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 cups sliced, cooked carrots (4-6)

1 bag frozen baby peas

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups chicken stock (from chicken poaching liquid)

2 cups half and half

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 package Pillsbury Grands!® biscuits

  1. I used my recipe for Poached Chicken Breasts, except poaching them in chicken stock instead of water.
  2. While the chicken is cooling, simmer the carrots in the stock for about 5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, then stir in the frozen peas just to thaw them and take off the chill. You don’t want to dump frozen peas into your hot gravy or it will take much longer to heat in the oven.
  3. Cube the chicken, or pull into shreds if you prefer that texture, and add to the baking dish with the carrots and peas.
  4. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper, stirring until smooth. Add 2 cups of the poaching stock and 2 cups of half and half, stirring until thickened. You can add 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg if you like that in a white sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and bake for 15-25 minutes, until bubbling hot. A hot casserole will help bake the undersides of the biscuits.
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and arrange the refrigerated biscuit dough on the casserole—two rows of four worked in my dish. I prefer the results when the biscuits are not touching each other.
  7. Return to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are browned on top and seem done through to the bottom.

I serve the biscuits turned upside down on a plate with the chicken-vegetable-gravy spooned over. It won’t make the snow melt, but it’s a comforting warm meal on a cold night.


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