We are in prime "comfort food" time on the calendar, but also in the midst of everyone's big annual "New Year, New You!" healthy eating kick too. Often comfort food and healthy eating are at odds with one another, but here's a full-of-comfort meal that is healthful too!
You can make this dish with chicken as is traditionally done, or you can easily substitute Great Northern or white beans, and it is makes a very tasty vegetarian rendition.
Just take a gander at this tastiness:
Use your slow cooker to do most of the work and finish in your oven to bake up the low-fat biscuit topping.
Slow Cooker Chicken/Chicken-less Pot Pie
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 large potato, diced
7 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken -OR- 2 - 15oz cans Great Northern beans (or 3 1/2 cups cooked beans)
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup corn starch
1/3 cup light sour cream
Topping (based on a recipe from Eating Well magazine):
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or just use all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk*
Make the filling:
Combine the carrots, celery, potato, water, salt, pepper, thyme, chicken (or white beans), and peas in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Strain the vegetables and chicken, being sure to collect all the broth in a stock pot. Ladle out about 2 cups of the broth in a bowl, and add the corn starch. Add the broth/corn starch mixture into the broth in the stock pot and heat to high, stirring until it boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens. Remove from the heat. Add the sour cream and stir well.
Meanwhile, if you are using chicken, remove the chicken from the strainer and shred with two forks.
Add the chicken (if using) and the vegetable mixture back into the thickened creamy broth. Stir well. Pour into a 9x13 or slightly larger pan.
Make the topping:
Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and thyme in a bowl. Add the butter, and using two butter knives or a pastry blender, "cut" the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pieces, no bigger than a small pebble.
Add the oil and buttermilk. Stir until just blended. Scoop in 2-3 tablespoon sized scoops on top of the creamy broth.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the biscuit top is slightly browned.
I don't know about you, but this screams "comfort food!" to me.
Life is sweet,
*don't have buttermilk? No problem! Just add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk, let sit for 5 minutes, and voila: homemade buttermilk.