The Tale of the Little Chicken That Could, Part II: Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pies with Lemon-Thyme Sweet Potato Biscuit. Ready to eat? Yes indeed.

And now for the second chapter of our little tale…

So it came to pass that the little chicken grew up to become a fabulous roasted chicken with lovely moist meat and savory pan juices. The home cook and her husband were very satisfied at dinner that night, and the little chicken was very…well…appreciated.

But this was just the beginning of the tale for this happy little chicken, oh yes! For you see, he had some special secrets he’d shared with the home cook, secrets that would honor a fine chicken and feed a family of two or more for several days. He foretold of many ways the home cook could enjoy him beyond an initial roasting, as well as have fun making new dishes in her kitchen.

“After you feast the first night, you must strip me of all my tasty meat and don’t be shy. Waste not a morsel,” the chicken had whispered to her. “Save the meat for the next dish and use what’s left of me along with my pan juices to make a stock…a very rich and tasty roasted chicken stock.”

So the day after roasting, the home cook scoured her refrigerator for savory items to make a fine stock. There were celery and carrots, onions and herbs, garlic, a bay leaf, pepper and salt, and those amazing pan juices, stripped of their fat. She bundled all of this into a big stock pot and simmered it for 2 hours, straining the solids and ending up with lots of great stock for future dishes.

“When you’ve finished your stock, you’ll use it to make the next two dinners,” the chicken had said, “and there will even be some left for soup or other dishes down the road…you’ll see.” The home cook was still flabbergasted at the thought of this one little chicken stretching so far, but she believed in the chicken and his promises, so she carried on to the next dinner’s recipe feeling empowered to boldly go down the road the chicken had paved.

That very night, with trusty Shun knife in hand, she proceeded to the kitchen to begin making her next dish…a gift from the Little Chicken that Could. What was it? Why, it was Individual Chicken Pot Pies with Lemon-Thyme Sweet Potato Biscuit crusts, but of course!

Now below you shall find 3 recipes. For us, this resulted in more dinners than the little chicken promised, not to mention chapter 3 which is a different dish entirely to come. So try out these recipes and then stay tuned for the last part of: The Tale of the Little Chicken that Could!

Note: These recipes came about from adapting several recipes, thoughts, ingredients and ideas inspired by Emeril Lagasse and Cooking Light. Though there are a few stages and quite a few ingredients, this isn’t difficult and is worth any trouble, trust me!

The rich finished stock before straining...

First make the chicken stock, perhaps the day before:
Place one roasted chicken carcass, stripped of skin and meat, into a large stock pot. Throw in 4 carrots that have been peeled and cut into large chunks, 4 stalks of celery with leaves cut into large chunks, one onion peeled and quartered, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, a bay leaf, 4 springs of fresh thyme and parsley, one teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, and a teaspoon of kosher salt, and the reserved chicken pan juices with the fat skimmed off.

...and after straining the solids, it makes quite a lot of stock, yay!

Cover everything in the pot completely with cold water, bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow the stock to simmer for about 2 hours. Remove from the heat, and strain the solids though a fine meshed sieve, then discard the solids. Allow the stock to cool, skim the fat and store in the fridge or freeze until ready to use.

Chicken Pot Pie makes me smile!

Individual Chicken Pot Pies with Lemon-Thyme Sweet Potato Biscuit
Makes 6 hearty servings 

For the pot pie filling:
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into about a 1/2″ dice, and par-cooked in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drained
5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, halved, then quartered
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 Tablespoons flour
3 cups of the roasted chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup 1% milk
leftover shredded roasted chicken, about 2 1/2 cups
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme leaves

For the Lemon-thyme sweet potato biscuit topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 medium sweet potato, wrapped in foil, baked at 400 degrees about 20-35 minutes until tender, then mashed well and cooled
1/4 scant cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves

Ramekins awaiting their biscuit.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil 6 ramekins. First make the filling. Heat the 5 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrot and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, a little pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Stir in the 5 tablespoons of flour and stir continuously for about 4 minutes to cook the flour and make a light roux. Add the chicken stock, stirring, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook another 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the milk and the half and half, then simmer another 4 minutes. Add the potatoes, the chicken, cayenne, salt, pepper, parsley and thyme. Stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide the filing evenly amongst the 6 prepared ramekins.

Ready for the oven.

Make the biscuit dough by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and then cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In another bowl, combine the sweet potato, the buttermilk, the lemon zest and the thyme. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until all ingredients are just moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, just until the dough has come together into a ball, don’t over knead. Roll the dough out into about a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out 6 biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, reassembling the scraps and rolling again to make the last biscuit…this will use up all the dough. Place one biscuit on top of each filled ramekin.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the ramekins on the foil, evenly spaced, and place the pan with ramekins into the oven. Cook the pies in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken filling is simmering and the biscuits are cooked through and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Decorate with a bit of chopped fresh parsley if desired. This makes six servings, and leftovers will keep well for a day in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave.


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54 thoughts on “The Tale of the Little Chicken That Could, Part II: Individual Chicken Pot Pies

    • Thank you Sharyn! I like the biscuit topping more than a crust because it sops up all those great juices from the filling. The sweet potato flavor is light, and lightly enhanced by the lemon and thyme…both of which flavored the original chicken so they all go together really well.

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    • Thanks for stopping by rock salt…and I love your name! Yes, I’m going to have to make more of these biscuits to just have by themselves…if I’d had the time I would have made a double batch, but had too much stuff in my tiny oven!

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  1. Wow, I knew that chicken would have a surprise for us, but didn´t expect anything so good! I usually use a pastry topping so I love the idea of what you did (with Little Chicken´s help)…stunning 🙂

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  2. It’s great how you’ve triple-purposed that one chicken! I so enjoy a pot pie! These here would be perfect for me. Make a set, serve one for my dinner, and freeze the others for later. As has been said, “YUM!”

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    • Thanks John, I don’t know what go into me…I’m usually not this good at planning out and re-purposing. I think that little chicken’s spirit has possessed me! 🙂 I do always love making things that I can get more than one dinner out of and the individual pies are so fun that I’ll probably never make a big one.

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  3. I’m really enjoying this series. Not only because it will become a bedtime story for little foodies but for the excellent recipes that the little chicken is inspiring.

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  4. That little chicken most certainly did a whole lot lol. It certainly looks amazing and I would eat it if this pesty computer screen wouldn’t stop me from going through the screen and having a taste lol

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    • As many other folks have commented, we all need to petition WP for smell-o-blogging and better yet, taste-o-blogging! I want to try almost everything I read about! Thank you, Kay…and yes, this has been a fruitful chicken with one more thing to give. 😉

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  5. This is sooo cute!! I love your creativity and of course these cute little pot pies!! I’m sending this to my daughter so she can see how purchasing a chicken can give her so many options, if you just follow along!!

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  6. Aw, I haven’t had a pot pie in absolutely AGES. I just love the look of these – how cute are those, and that stock too…. yummy 😀 Looks like you had a fabulous meal with those – thanks for sharing, they look delish!

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    • They were mighty good, Charles. I’ll definitely make them again, and will never roast a chicken again without making some stock from it…it’s so easy and sooooo much better than store bought or even from raw chicken. Thank you for your comments! 🙂

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  7. I really enjoyed your story writing today! I loved it! The whole metaphor right down to those little yummy biscuits floating on a heavenly bowl of chicken. I can’t wait to read the next instalment.. Time for me to pick up a chicken and get going! xo Smidge

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  8. What a lovely little personal portion Betsey. I really love the biscuit cap on them, and that they are just slightly off kilter to reveal the creamy goodness below.

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  9. I love your writing. Anywhoos, these individual pot pies look extremely delicious. It’s raining where I am and this is the perfect dinner for me as I have not cooked today! YUMMYYYY!!!

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  10. Looks delicious! And you got so much yumminess out of your one chicken!! The stock looks beautiful, and I love the biscuits you topped your pot pie with. It’s nice to mix things up, and a lemon-thyme sweet potato biscuit sounds amazing!!

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  11. Pingback: The Tale of The Little Chicken That Could, Part III: Risotto, the Essence of a Chicken and the End? | bits and breadcrumbs

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