I loved the Mediterranean-style Southern biscuits from my last kitchen experiment so much that I had to find a way to resurrect them in my next experiment as well. Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less what the rest of the dish was – I just wanted to experience the dense buttermilk-laden biscuit texture all over again.
And because I cared less for what went along with the biscuit, I took a shortcut that I rarely ever use: pre-made ingredients. Many of you who know me well are probably choking at the thought of my resorting to pre-made stuff. Honestly, it just feels like cheating. Like a cop-out. Like Sara Lee’s SEMI-homemade cooking on Food Network. Bleh.
Whatever. We all have our days. And on my such day, rather than spending forever concocting a creative, attempting-to-be-different dish, I decided to whip up simple mini pot-pies, half of them stuffed with some spicy minced meat that my mom had cooked up for the weekend, and the other half with some leftover Arabic shawarma-style chicken...topped with the ultimate, thick, freshly baked biscuit layer.
To overcome my nagging pangs of guilt at using pre-prepped meat and chicken fillings, I decided to give them a facelift with a mirepoix base (mirepoix = celery + onions + carrots. Trust the French to make even the simple sound sexy.)
I simply sauteed the mirepoix till it released that wonderful earthy aroma, and tossed part of it in with the meat/chicken to give them a chunky veggie makeover. I pureed the remaining mirepoix with sautéed mushrooms and parsley, and streamed in some vegetable broth that I’d used to deglaze the pan in which I’d sautéed the mirepoix. Ideally, you’d want to be throwing in butter to deglaze the pan so that you could soak up the crusty brown bits left in the pan with smoky buttery fats...but I preferred to keep the sauce more hearty and healthy to contrast the thick buttery biscuit layer that was to come on top.
The biscuit topping didn’t take any time to make at all – super simple using this recipe from allrecipes.com, and which I’ve used with success on my last post as well. Once I’d topped up my mini bowls with filling, I layered them with a bit of cheese and then added a scoop of biscuit dough. The trick with this super-wet and sloppy dough is to first dunk it in a bowl of flour, then (skilfully) toss it from one hand to the other so that the excess flour falls off and it shapes up from a nebulous gloopy mess into something that remotely resembles a ball. Then just layer it on top of the bowl, patting it down on the edges (not on the center, we want that to rise) so that it seals the filling and let the flavours bake beautifully within.
Sprinkled with thyme, thrown in a pre-heated oven at 475 degrees F, and in 15 minutes, voila! Piping hot inflated dome of rich biscuit dough, thin cheesy layer, and a super flavourful filling beneath that’s perfect to sop up with chunks of your buttery biscuit crust.
(PS. Since I’d already sinned by using pre-made filling, I went all out and even used the previous night’s potatoes to complete my plating. )