Will It Skillet by Daniel Shumski (Workman, 2017) serves up 53 mouthwatering recipes that can be made in a cast iron skillet. This recipe for chicken potpie upgrades the frozen dinner classic with a buttery cracker crust.
I’m a fan of cooking from scratch, but I’ve certainly fished my fair share of dinners out of the freezer case. I have a soft spot for those packaged chicken potpies, with their double crusts, mechanically perfect cubes of carrot and potatoes, frozen peas, and occasional piece of chicken. This recipe will not have you missing the chicken. There’s plenty.
Making everything in the skillet means no crust on the bottom, since the sauce and all of the filling ingredients are cooked together on the stovetop. You won’t find the traditional crust on top, either. Instead, crushed crackers add crunch there.
For the Topping• 25 saltine crackers
• 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/8 teaspoon dried ground sage
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 cup diced white or yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
• 3/4 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks, trimmed)
• 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1 cup milk
• 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 12 ounces)
• 1 cup frozen peas
1. Make the topping: In a small bowl, finely crush the crackers. Stir in the Parmesan and sage. Add the butter and mix with a fork until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with one rack in the middle. Preheat the skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
3. Make the filling: Add the butter to the skillet and allow it to melt, then add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 10 minutes.
4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the broth and milk. In another small bowl, combine the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper, then sprinkle the mixture into the skillet. Gradually whisk in the broth and milk, adding about a quarter of the total liquid at a time and whisking until the mixture thickens before adding more. The first batch of liquid should thicken almost instantly, though it may take as long as 5 minutes to add and thicken all of the liquid. When all of the liquid has been added, stir in the chicken and peas and remove the skillet from the heat.
5. Sprinkle the topping over the skillet and place it in the oven. Bake until the topping is beginning to brown and the liquid is bubbling around the edges, about 10 minutes.
6. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Serve hot. Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days.
Substitute 2 cups cubed cooked ham for the chicken and omit the salt. (The ham has a more assertive flavor, so slightly less is needed.)
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Excerpted from Will it Skillet by Daniel Shumski (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017