Thursdays are busy for us. The kids have choir practice from 4:15-7:00, and that means we don’t even get home until 7:30 on a good day. Yesterday we had snow, and we didn’t get home until 7:45. Needless to say, dinner is late. I needed a casserole that I could have Scott put in the oven so it was ready for us when we got home. Shepherd’s pie is my go to dish for this, but I wanted chicken instead. I used to make a chicken and tarragon dish, years ago, and this is a combination of the two.
- 1/2 of a large chicken or a whole small chicken
- 4-6 large potatoes
- 8 oz. mushrooms
- 1 c. frozen peas
- a bunch of green onions, chopped
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 2 T. corn starch
- 2 T. sour cream
- 1 c. grated swiss cheese
- 1 tsp. dried tarragon
First of all, I have large chickens. We raise our chickens, and by 8 weeks, they are huge. Half of a chicken feeds our family of 5. I only use half a chicken for most meals. I like to poach chickens when I need stock and cooked chicken. It’s easy and good. If you are in a hurry, cut the chicken into pieces. Place them in a pot and cover with water. I usually heat it over high heat until it reaches a simmer, then turn it to low for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for another 10 minutes or so. By that time the chicken is usually cooked. Remove from the water, let cool, and cut into pieces. Reserve some of the cooking liquid for your stock. I usually take the rest of the liquid and the bones and put them in the crock pot with some more water and cook on low overnight. That gives me some wonderful stock to make a soup from another day.
Make some mashed potatoes. I like to peel the potatoes, then boil in salted water until they are soft. I usually mash them with butter, sour cream, salt and water to thin them out.
Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and saute in butter and olive oil until they are cooked. Add the green onions and cook another couple of minutes. Add the peas and warm through. Add the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the sour cream and stir until it’s combined. Add the swiss cheese and then the chicken stock. Heat until the cheese is melted. Add the chicken and tarragon. At this time you’ll want to thicken the sauce. I like to use corn starch, but it takes a little work to get a smooth sauce with corn starch instead of a lumpy one. Take your corn starch and mix it with cold water in a bowl. I usually mix up more than I’ll need. Then pour a little of the cornstarch mixture into your sauce and stir quickly to combine. As it hits the bottom of the pan, it will thicken. Keep adding small additions until the sauce is the thickness you want. Salt to taste.
To assemble, pour the chicken mixture into a casserole dish. I usually use my le creuset oval 3 1/2 quart dutch oven. Gently put the mashed potatoes on top. This can be refridgerated a day or so. Bake the resulting dish in a 350 degree oven until it is hot and bubbly.