Her recipes are a great place to start, and I added a few personal touches along the way. The dish turned out beautifully, and it really warmed the soul on a rainy night in Georgia.
Of course, catching up with dear friends was the icing on the cake.
Here’s hoping your holidays and weekends are also filled with great friends, good food, love and laughter.
Southern Chicken Stew with Herb Biscuits
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
3 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
1 cup chopped celery
1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small pearl onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
For the biscuits – Or use your own favorite biscuit recipe and add herbs of your choice:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or herbs such as sage, thyme or rosemary
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan, and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, celery, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper, and bake for 15 minutes.
While the stew is baking, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or clean aluminum can.
Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.