I shared my biscuits and gravy recipe last month, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share my other favorite biscuit recipe, autumn chicken and biscuits. This recipe tastes like fall, smells like fall and feels like fall. It’s hearty enough for dinner and is delightful for breakfast with an egg on top. Many flavors and textures come together — a hint of bacon, a bit of sweetness from butternut squash and apple, an herbaceous heat from the chile and rosemary, the crunch of sharp cheddar biscuits. Basically it’s what I like to call a one-pot wonder.
This truly is as versatile a recipe as you’d like it to be. You can skip the biscuits and enjoy a delicious chicken stew. You can make this vegetarian by skipping the chicken and swapping out the broth for vegetable broth. You could even go a step further and swap out the chicken for beef and beef broth.
How you cook the chicken is up to you. A whole chicken is my favorite way to go. We will have roasted chicken one night, and the next day, I will throw the cooked chicken in a pot; cover it with cold water, some carrot, onion or celery, if I have it; and let it simmer for an hour. Then I’ll strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and pick all the chicken meat I can from the bones. It’s a beautiful way to use the whole chicken without letting anything go to waste.
Autumn chicken and biscuits
Makes: 6-8 servings; total time: around 2 hours
For the cheesy biscuits:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, frozen, grated and kept in freezer until ready to use
11/4 cups half and half
For the stew:
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
2 fire-roasted poblano chiles
1/2 pound mushrooms, diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
2-4 teaspoons chile powder (depending on heat preference and heat of chile powder)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup all-purpose, whole wheat, corn or rice flour
8 cups chicken broth
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 bunch of kale, cut into pieces
1 cup peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the biscuit dough: In a medium bowl, stir together with a fork the flour, cheese, baking powder and salt. Add the frozen butter, breaking up the pieces gently with your hands in the flour until evenly distributed. Stir in the half and half with a spoon just until the flour is absorbed and a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Make the stew: In a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot over low heat, add the bacon. Let the bacon render slowly while you’re preparing the other vegetables. Once the bacon is fully cooked and crispy, reserve bacon into a saucer with a slotted spoon for later. We want to leave as much bacon fat in the pot to help cook the vegetables.
Add the butter and turn the heat to medium high. Add the carrots, celery, onion, apple, mushrooms, butternut squash, garlic and fire-roasted poblano. I usually cut up one vegetable at a time and throw it into the pot as I go. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chile powder, rosemary and flour. Let cook a few minutes more. Add the chicken broth and bring stew to a simmer.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the stew cook around 20 minutes or until the carrots and squash are tender. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Carefully blend around a quarter of the soup and stir it back into the pot. Add the kale and peas to the pot and cook for a few minutes until the kale is fully wilted into the stew. Scoop spoons of biscuit dough onto the top of the stew and bake uncovered for around 30-40 minutes or until the top of the biscuits are golden brown. Spoon into bowls and enjoy.