When autumn rolls around with its shorter days and chilly evenings, I always start to feel a little nostalgic.
What that really means is that I start to miss the cold-weather comfort foods that I haven’t had in what feels like forever because the weather has been too warm to really enjoy them.
(Let’s be honest, pot roast for dinner just doesn’t follow well after a lunch of corn on the cob, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh watermelon. And don’t even get me started on how it just feels wrong to have peach crisp for dessert afterwards, lol.)
So when the evenings start to cool off and I finally have a legitimate reason to make a heartier meal, I tend to want all the things. At once.
Mac and cheese? Of course. Chicken pot pie? Why not. Biscuits? Dumplings? Whatever, it’s all good. That right there is the jumble that went on inside my head when I was dreaming up this dish. So what I ended up with was basically a combo of all three; and yes, it is every bit as amazing as it sounds.
Don’t be dissuaded from making this recipe because of the long ingredient list; it’s mostly a ton of veggies. (Who can complain about a medley of veggies in a cheesy sauce?!) I used a bit of fresh thyme, Dijon mustard, and smoked paprika for flavor, and of course there’s also what I consider the star ingredient of this dish: the cheese!
I used GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Cheddar Shreds and they melted absolutely perfectly into this stew-type mixture. Compared to regular dairy cheddar cheese, GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Cheddar Shreds have 50% more calcium, nearly as much protein, half the fat, and 35% less calories. Take a look and compare for yourself!
The great thing about this meal is that even though it takes a little longer to make than other meals, it makes a big old dish of food, and (depending on how big your family is) you’re likely to have enough for another whole meal or two of leftovers (I love when that happens). Of course it’s also perfect for a family gathering when you’re cooking for a crowd!
And here’s a quick cooking tip if you’re in a time crunch: to shave about half of the cooking time off of this dish, it’s perfectly fine to skip the biscuit topping and subsequent bake time.
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 lbs (907 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1¾ teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed into ½-inch pieces
- 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine or low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 cups (950 ml) dairy-free “milk” (or any kind you like), at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 (15.25 oz/432 g) can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 (7 oz/198 g) packs GO Veggie! Lactose-Free Cheddar Shreds
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 cup (237 ml) dairy-free “milk” (or any kind you like)
- Vegetable shortening, to grease the dish
- Preheat oven to 400F; grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with shortening.
- Add 3 tablespoons oil to a 5-quart pot over medium-high to high heat. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper; add the chicken to the hot pot and cook until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes (it will still be pink in the center, but it will finish cooking later). Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium; to the same pot, add the sweet potato and cook (covered) for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the carrot, celery, onion, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cover the pot and cook until the veggies start to get tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and flour, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the white wine (or chicken stock) and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the milk, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, smoked paprika, and browned chicken, and stir until the sauce is lump-free. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cheddar shreds and stir until they’re completely melted; turn off the heat and stir in the corn and peas. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Pour the cheesy chicken stew mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- For the biscuit topping, whisk together the flour, thyme, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour mixture (do not completely combine the shortening and flour; there should be some larger pieces about the size of peas). Stir the milk into the flour/shortening mixture with a wooden spoon, being careful not to over-mix.
- Drop the biscuit dough out onto the top of the cheesy chicken stew mixture, leaving about 2 inches between each (I used a 2 tablespoon-sized scoop and I got 15 biscuits).
- Bake (uncovered) until the biscuits are puffed and golden in places, and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a biscuit comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
- Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Disclosure: I received the GO Veggie! products that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for this post. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.