For some reason I have always avoided making this dish. Every time we see it offered somewhere or on a food tv show, my husband asks me to make it but it just hasn’t been my thing. I think it was the versions with the dumplings that really turned me off – the texture was just something that didn’t appeal. When I saw a version online that has biscuits – I started to drool (not literally). I loved the idea of using biscuits instead so that they were crunchy on the top and not doughy and boiled. Plus, just the process of making biscuits makes me happy. High-rising disks of pure buttery enjoyment – so perfectly round and flaky. (I am making you hungry, aren’t I?)
I looked through a couple of other recipes for similar dishes and wound up mashing two together for what I think is the perfect combination of a light creamy soup, shredded chicken, delicious vegetables, and crunchy topped buttery biscuits.
Prep the vegetables by dicing the carrots, celery and onions. Set aside.
Lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (sorry for the raw chicken photo – I know a lot of people can’t handle it.)
Dredge a whole cut-up fryer in flour (two breasts, two wings, two drumsticks, and two thighs) and set aside. Rather than cut up a whole fryer, you can simply purchase these all set to go.
Heat olive oil and butter in a dutch oven
In two separate batches, brown the chicken on both sides (about 4 minutes per side or until the chicken lifts easily from the pan.) You want that really rich color on the chicken. It adds great flavor to the finished soup. Once all the pieces are browned, remove them to a clean plate and set aside.
Wipe the pan out if you need to (my butter solids had browned a little too much) and put a little bit of olive oil back in the pan. Once heated, put the vegetables into the pan and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add your seasonings and crushed garlic next. Cook for another 2 minutes. Evenly distribute flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.
While whisking, pour in 4-6 cups chicken stock (4 cups gives you a really thick chicken soup). Place chicken pieces back in the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
While the soup simmers, prepare the biscuits – by far my FAVORITE part of the meal.
Cut up the butter into small pieces and place it and the shortening in a small bowl. Stash in the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter and shortening until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheese. In another small bowl, whisk the egg and then add to the buttermilk. All at once, add the buttermilk/egg to the dry ingredients and stir together using a fork until it mostly clumps together. Place onto a flat surface lightly dusted with flour, knead 4-5 times, and roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out 4-5 biscuits.
Once your soup has simmered for 20 minutes, pull out the chicken and using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. I used the back of the fork to slide the skin off of the meat and then holding one fork still in a chunk of meat, used my right hand to pull small pieces of chicken away.
Place chicken back into the soup and stir, adding in about 1/4 cup heavy cream. Dropping the biscuits in is kind of funny…you have to kind of slide them in. Don’t worry if they submerge slightly, they will pop out.
Bake biscuits for 20 minutes in the hot oven until they are golden brown on top and the chicken soup is bubbly.
Serve! This dinner is essential comfort food. Filling, creamy, rich, and delicious. I will definitely be making this again and again. A new winter favorite!
Chicken and Biscuits
4-6 cups chicken stock
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 whole cut-up fryer
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 t thyme
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t ground white pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
2 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 T shortening
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buttermilk
Soup: Chop up the carrot, onion, and celery – set aside. Dredge the chicken in flour and in two batches, brown in the butter and olive oil – set aside. Using a little more butter, cook the vegetables until the onion is clear and translucent. Stir in the spices and garlic – cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle 3 T flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the chicken stock. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup and simmer for 20 minutes.
Biscuits: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the chilled butter and shortening until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the shredded cheese. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and combine with the buttermilk. Add the liquid all at once to the dry ingredients and stir until it just begins to combine. Dump out on a flat surface coated with a light dusting of flour. Knead 4-5 times and then roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 4-5 biscuits.
Assembly: Remove the chicken from the soup and using two forks, shred into small pieces. Add it back to the soup along with a 1/4 cup heavy cream and stir. Drop/place the biscuits into the soup and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and the soup is bubbly.
Serve with one biscuit per bowl!
What is your favorite wintertime dish?
PS – to cool your soup down quickly, take two frozen and sealed water bottles and drop them into the soup. They will quickly bring down the temperature of the soup, making it ready to store in the refrigerator. When I am done using them, I run them through the dishwasher and stash them back in the freezer for a future use.