I try to keep the foods in this blog fairly seasonally appropriate, but when you live in the Midwest you often experience all four seasons in a week, so that can be difficult. Last week, my son’s soccer practice was cancelled due to low temperatures and snow. A week later, he was playing a game in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, and I was sweating under the bright sun in the sidelines.
So, yes, this meal—comfort food at its finest—was eaten more in the snowfall days than the sweating days, but, uh, who knows, we might still have some of those snowy days ahead (PLEASE NO) and other people are still in the midst of them (sorry).
We’ve had this meal a few times now and it hasn’t disappointed. I hate to call it a shepherd’s pie because, really, it’s absolutely nothing like one, from the meat used to the topping, but I don’t make the rules at Cook’s Country. If I did, this would have a more accurate and more groan-worthy title like Chicken PotATO Pie, which is really what it is. It’s basically a chicken pot pie filling but instead of a crust it’s topped with buttery potatoes. Delicious comfort food number one, meet delicious comfort food number two.
You may want to increase the filling a bit (I did this once and preferred the filling-to-topping ratio more but also added a bit too much broth so I’m not going to put that version here at the moment since it needs some tweaks), but otherwise this dish is pretty near perfect. Zachary even ate the potatoes, which I wasn’t sure he’d do (he tends to dislike softer potatoes like mashed and such. Weirdo). The leftovers were great, and since it’s always about 30 degrees in my office regardless of season, they are just fine year-round.
Skillet Chicken Shepherd’s Pie
- 10 minutes
- 1 hour
- 6 servings
- 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 2 lbs. bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and and sliced into half circles
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. fresh minced thyme
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
- 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1″ pieces
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with about 1 Tbsp. water
- Pat the chicken dry and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in an oven safe deep 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken (in batches if necessary, so as not to overcrowd the pan), about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is well-browned. Use tongs to transfer chicken to a plate and and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet.
- Return the skillet to heat and add the onions, carrots, and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until they are just softening, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook an additional minute or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in the sherry and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, a couple of minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the broth.
- Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet, skin-side up. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook until the chicken registers 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and use tongs to transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones.
- Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat to 375ºF. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a strong simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Return the pot to the stove and cook over low heat, stirring very gently, until all of the water has evaporated (this will only take a minute or two). Remove from heat and gently stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Whisk the cornstarch together with 3 tablespoons of water. Return the skillet with the broth and vegetables to the stovetop and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and cook until the thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the peas, lemon juice, and shredded chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the potatoes over the entire surface of the filling, and then brush with the egg-water mixture.
- Bake in the oven until the pie is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook until the potatoes are golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.