My friend had knee surgery last Tuesday and came home from the hospital yesterday. In Texas, we know that almost any calamity can be made better with a good meal, so I wanted to take something yummy over to welcome her home. Cooking for someone that doesn't feel that good is tricky. It has to be appetizing, but not too complex. It's not the time for experiments! So, I decided to go for pure comfort food-- Chicken Biscuits. A lot of recipes call this "Chicken and Biscuits", but that sounds like you're making chicken and serving biscuits on the side. Chicken Biscuits is a whole different story! The chicken and biscuits become one-- a marriage of tender chicken in a tasty sauce all cooked together with flaky browned biscuits and served as one happy dish!
This can be a very time consuming thing to make totally from scratch, but by using a rotisserie chicken from the store and boxed chicken stock, you save a time. You can't really get away with boxed stock for some things, but there are a lot of added flavors to this dish, so I think it tastes great with boxed stock!
"How about the biscuits?", you might ask, "can they be store bought?" Well, yes, but finally, I've found the most wonderful recipe for homemade biscuits! If you try them, I think you will definitely think they are worth making. Also, you make them while the chicken part is baking, so what else were you going to be doing? :)
Chicken Biscuits (serves 4-5)
Meat from one rotisserie chicken (skin and bones removed), torn into large chunks
6 Tbl. unsalted butter
6 Tbl. flour
1 small onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large stalk celery, sliced
3 cups chicken broth
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 tsp. garlic granules
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sugar (makes a difference-- I tried it without)
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in 1 Tbl. unsalted butter
6 buttermilk biscuits (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 300F.
In a skillet, melt the butter and put in the sliced onion, carrots, and celery. Allow to saute slowly until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and stir around to mix well. Add the chicken broth and stir until thickened. Add the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, sugar, sauteed mushrooms, and seasoned salt. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring once in awhile. Taste and adjust seasonings. You might want to add plain salt and some pepper at this point.
Put the chicken meat in the bottom of a square casserole dish (like 9x9-inch). An oval one is pretty too if you have it. Pour the sauce over the chicken; it should cover the meat completely.
Bake the dish for 45 minutes.
Turn the oven to 450F. When it is reaches the temperature, arrange the biscuits over the casserole. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the biscuits are well browned.
Buttermilk Biscuits (makes about 10)
2.5 cups self-rising flour*
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tsp. sugar (again, makes a difference, helps biscuits to brown)
1.25 cups buttermilk
In a food processor, blend the flour and sugar together. Add the chunks of butter and process until the mixture looks like crumbs with some bits of butter still visible. Add the buttermilk and pulse just a few times, until the mixture barely comes together into a soft dough. DON'T OVERMIX!
Plop it out onto a floured tea towel. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and gently pat down to about 1.5-inches thickness. Using the towel as a help, fold the dough over onto itself. Turn and repeat folding and turning the dough gently, using the towel to help you, 5 times, total. Pat the dough into a circle about 1-inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter or super sharp knife.
*Self-rising flour makes a lighter biscuit than adding the leavening yourself to regular flour. I never thought it would make a difference, but when I finally gave in and bought some, it made all the difference! Since my background is in chemistry, I went into way more research about this than a normal person would. You don't want to hear it, but there ARE reasons! For now, just buy the flour. You can store it in the freezer to keep it fresh, so it won't go to waste and once you've tried it, you'll use it a lot!