One of the biggest changes I have had to make in moving so far away from town is cooking more. The last couple of years we lived in the city, we had gotten better about not eating out so much, but I didn’t realize how much we still had been until moving here. The closest restaurant around here is 20 minutes away in Kiowa. There is a diner for breakfast and lunch and a pizza place for dinner. The town of Elizabeth is another 10 minutes past that. So, when you are looking at 40 – 60 minutes round trip just to pick something up, you start cooking in a lot more!
About 6 months ago, I ordered an Instant Pot to help with cooking meals at home. I’m still a horrible planner around dinner and often forget to take something out of the freezer before leaving the house or early enough for it to thaw out for dinner. The ability to cook frozen or half thawed meat for dinner intrigued me. I also wanted a slow cooker with a timer on it since I have an almost 90-minute commute each way on the days I have to go into the office. A neighbor and several friends also had an Instant Pot and loved it, so I figured it could be just the thing we needed.
Wow! Where has this gadget been all my life? One of the first few times we used it was for our daughter’s birthday party. I had beef chuck pot roast in my crockpot, but as usual, had not started it early enough. Guests were here and ready to eat and the meat was still tough. I threw it in the Instant Pot for 20 minutes and presto! We had super tender fall apart meat! I’ll post that recipe another time. 😊
On New Year's Day I was feeling pretty lazy with it being a holiday and the last day of my vacation. I kind of forgot about dinner until about lunchtime. I decided that some chicken pot pie would be great on this chilly day and I would have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Needless to say, that chicken breast I took out of the freezer was only half thawed five hours later. Instant Pot to the rescue!
I love this recipe – even with half frozen chicken breast, yummy pot pie was on the table an hour after I started. The nice thing is that this recipe can also be altered to fit your taste so easily. Change up the herbs or any of the vegetables to your liking. I love peas in my pot pie, but my husband hates them. So I use green beans instead. Or you can add carrots, celery, onions, whatever suits you! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could cook the filling in a slow cooker too.
I personally prefer to serve biscuits with the pot pie filling instead of topping it all with a pie crust. Biscuits are perfect as a side with the filling or can be crumbled on top of the filling as a "crust" after cooking. These drop biscuits are super quick, fluffy and better than anything you can get out of a can - although canned or frozen biscuits can work in a pinch if needed!
Chicken Pot Pie
1 pound boneless chicken breasts
Salt and black pepper to taste (freshly ground)
3 medium potatoes (any potato will do - red-skinned, round white, new, russet)
Onion, chopped (optional)
2 ribs celery, sliced (optional)
2 medium carrots, sliced (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon each of dried or fresh rosemary and thyme (or use your favorite herb or poultry seasoning blend, or your choice of herbs)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour (all-purpose)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas or green beans (fresh or frozen) (optional)
Chop the onion (if using) and put it in the Instant Pot.
Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch cubes and place the cubes on the onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes into 1 -2 inch cubes and scatter them over the chicken pieces.
Slice the carrots and celery (if using) into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the pot.
Sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme (or your choice of seasoning) and add the chicken stock. Place the bay leaf on top of the mixture.
Place the lid on the pot and close the pressure valve. Cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. Allow natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter. Add 1/2 cup of flour and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until a light-medium brown color is achieved. Browning will develop the flavor.
Add the heavy cream and peas or green beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until hot and vegetables are warmed through.
Stir the roux mixture into the chicken filling mixture in the Instant Pot. Stir to blend and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the liquids are thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaf.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t ablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons granulated natural cane sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425ºF with the rack adjusted to the middle position.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar to a deep bowl. Whisk to combine. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and rub together quickly with your fingertips, until it forms a sandy-looking texture with some pebble-sized pieces. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until it just comes together into a thick dough and there are no visible signs of flour. This step should only take a minute: be careful not to overmix the dough.
Drop by 1/4 -cupfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper - I use an ice cream scoop for this so they come out even in size and shape. Bake until golden on the bottoms and around the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Serve hot.