Chicken stewed with tasty root vegetables has long been a favourite coast to coast. In West Vancouver, Janey Purvis bakes her stewed chicken under a blanket of flaky biscuits. This dish never fails to win raves from family, friends and neighbours. It can be mostly made in advance and kept refrigerated for a day. Then just make the biscuits and bake with the stew.
- Portion size 8 servings
Chicken and Stock:
Chicken and stock: Rinse chicken, quarter and place in large stockpot with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Skim off all foam. Coarsely chop vegetables for stock and add to pot along with salt, peppercorns, parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Simmer gently, partially covered, for about 2 hours or until chicken is tender. (If using a stewing hen, increase time to 4 hours to tenderize bird.)
Remove chicken; when cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones. Chop meat into bite-size cubes and reserve. Strain stock into clean saucepan, discarding all herbs and chopped vegetables.
Stew: Peel onion and carrots. Cut a shallow X in root end of each onion. Chop carrots into 1-1/2inch (3-cm) chunks. Simmer these vegetables in stock, covered, until tender. Using slotted spoon, remove vegetables and add to chicken. Simmer mushrooms for 5 minutes and peas for 1 minute. Remove and add to chicken and other vegetables.
In medium saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 3-1/4 cups (800 mL) of hot stock to make a fairly thick sauce. Add spices, Tabasco, Worcestershire and cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. If you like a thinner stew, add more stock. Reserve any remaining stock for another use.
Combine sauce with chicken and vegetables in large heatproof dish; add parsley. The stew, heated through, can be eaten now, but is even better with the flaky biscuit topping.
Biscuits: In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening to make a crumbly mixture. Stir in milk; form dough into ball.
Roll out to 3/4-inch (2-cm) thickness; cut out round biscuits and place on top of stew. Bake at 425°F (220°C) until stew is hot and bubbling and biscuits are golden brown. If stew is cold, this will take 30 to 35 minutes; if stew is still warm, it will take 20 to 25 minutes.