By Lindsey Young
I have a ton of amazing memories about my paternal grandma, who passed away in 2012. She was such an awesome person and a crazy good cook.
Near the end of her life, she invited me over to her small apartment for dinner – just the two of us. She made a chicken and biscuits meal with some mixed veggies in it that was perfectly belly-filling and delicious. And, since she and I both had a serious ice cream addiction, we ended supper with a big bowl of it for dessert.
I don’t remember what all we chatted about while we sat at her small table, but I do remember the meal, which I suppose highlights the power of food in how we bond with one another.
That seemingly insignificant dinner popped into my memory this past week, when I stumbled on a recipe for a chicken and dumpling casserole. It reminded me so much of the meal she and I shared.
The recipe I used comes from the blog “Plain Chicken,” and while I generally like the base of this blog’s recipes, I often feel the need to add quite a bit to make them less, well, “plain.” You can find the original post at https://www.plainchicken.com/chicken-dumpling-casserole. I added herbs and veggies to my version, so I decided to dub it a “pot pie” casserole instead of just dumplings.
Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 to 4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
12 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
10.75 ounces cream of chicken soup
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and then spread the shredded chicken and mixed vegetables over top of it.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and milk until it’s smooth, and pour the mixture as evenly as you can over top of the chicken. You don’t need to stir or spread it out.
In the same mixing bowl (why cause more dishes?), whisk the cream of chicken soup, broth and herbs and spices together until smooth and pour it evenly into the baking dish. Again, you don’t need to stir or spread it out.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the biscuit dough is a golden brown on top.
Serve with mashed potatoes.
The mashed potatoes were a perfect touch to give this casserole a very homestyle taste. The night I made this, I actually only had a bag of frozen carrots in the freezer, so ours was missing all of the mixed veggies goodness, but we still really enjoyed it.
As a side note, I used a rotisserie chicken for my version, and then after Joey graciously shredded all the meat off of it for me, I boiled the carcass for about 20 minutes with the herbs listed above to make my broth instead of buying some. It worked really well, and I had some broth left over to put in the freezer for next time.
I can’t tell you what recipe Grandma used when she and I sat down to our casserole nearly a decade ago, but as the old cliché goes, I know the main ingredient was love, and that’s really all that matters.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly cooking column. Lindsey Young is an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.