1 large chicken (5-6 pounds)
Kosher salt or sea salt
2 medium onions, peeled and halved, attached at root end
3-4 ribs celery, halved
1 carrot, peeled and halved
1 large bundle herbs, including thyme, rosemary, parsley and fresh bay leaves
1 lemon, thickly sliced
Drop Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
16 button mushrooms, sliced or quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and chopped
3-4 small ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
3-4 sprigs tarragon, leaves chopped
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds poached chicken, diced or shredded
1 cup frozen peas
1 package drop biscuit mix, prepared according to package directions, such as Jiffy brand
Fresh chives or parsley or fresh or dried dill, finely chopped, to add to biscuit mix
To make the poached chicken: Wash and dry the chicken and season the inside and outside with salt inside. Arrange the vegetables in bottom of a large pot and put the herbs and thick slices of lemon on top. Set the chicken on top of the vegetables and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and gently poach the chicken at a low simmer for 1 hour. Occasionally, skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn off the heat and let the chicken stand covered for 1 hour more. Remove the chicken from the pot to a platter. Strain the liquid, then add about 3 1/2 quarts back to the pot. Reduce the liquid over a low flame for about 1 hour more, producing about 2 quarts of strong flavored stock. Remove the skin of the chicken. Pull the meat from the bones, then dice or shred the meat with forks. Refrigerate the stock and chicken until ready to use. This recipe yields about 2 1/2-3 pounds picked meat and 2 quarts concentrated stock.
To make the Drop Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie: Heat a high-sided skillet over medium heat with EVOO, two turns of the pan, add the mushrooms and cook to tender, but not brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots, potato, celery, onion, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat a pot over medium-high heat and add the butter. Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the stock to form a roux. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 7-8 minutes to thicken and lightly coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the tarragon and Dijon mustard.
Pour the sauce into the vegetables and stir. Add the chicken and peas and transfer the mixture to a casserole dish or individual crocks. This meal can be refrigerated, at this point, for make-ahead dinners. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Prepare the drop biscuit mix for eight biscuits and stir in a little chives, parsley or dill for flavor. Top the chicken casserole orcrocks with drop biscuits and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of oven at 375°F until the casserole is warm through and biscuits are lightly golden and crispy at edges. If the chicken filling is still warm from stove top this will take only about 10 minutes. If the chicken is cold, bake for 30 minutes; for the last 10 minutes, remove from oven, add biscuit mix, then return to the oven and cook uncovered until the biscuits are golden.