For the filling
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into polite bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (or cremini)
1 medium yellow onion, copped (or 2 shallots)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (or homemade stock)
1 cup dry white wine [may substitute cooking wine]
1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
For the biscuits
Makes about 9 biscuits (this recipe owes a great deal to America’s Test Kitchen)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup buttermilk
1. Make the filling. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, lidded sauté pan over medium flame. Add the chicken to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Very lightly brown the chicken, stirring frequently, about five or so minutes. You don’t want to brown it completely – just get rid of all the pink on the outside. Transfer chicken to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan (and a drizzle of oil, if needed) and sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, about 4 or 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
2. Melt a generous 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan, swirling to coat. Sweat onion in the butter until it begins to soften, just 2 or 3 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid browning. Add garlic and herbes de Provence and stir to combine. Clear a space in the center of the pan and sprinkle in flour. Whisking constantly (this tool, a DIREKT Whisk, is awesome for the job), lightly brown the flour, incorporating the onions into the mix. Cook the mixture a good 5 minutes, continuing to whisk constantly (this will cook out the raw flour taste, creating a blond roux or thickening agent).
3. Add the broth, wine, and half and half to the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan and add the carrots and peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toward the end, you may want to only partially cover the pan to allow the sauce to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Make the biscuits. Once the filling is simmering and doesn’t need your attention, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or else lightly grease a baking sheet). Melt butter in a small saucepan, then transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly. Mix dry ingredients and thyme in a large mixing bowl.
5. Measure the chilled buttermilk into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add melted butter and stir until clumps form. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until the ingredients are incorporated. At first, it will seem as if you need more liquid; just keep scraping the bottom of the bowl until you’ve worked all the flour into the dough.
6. Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, scoop mounds of dough and drop them onto baking sheet, spacing about 1-1/2 inches apart. Press on them with your fingers to slightly flatten. Bake biscuits until the tops are golden brown, 12-14 minutes (mine were done in 12, but that could be our screwy oven). Remove from oven and let rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes.
7. Assemble the pot pies. Slice four still-warm biscuits in half, placing the bottoms in shallow bowls. spoon the filling over the biscuit bottoms and top each with a biscuit top. Serve, offering additional biscuits with butter and preserves.