Chicken & Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Hiver 2018
food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

Chicken pot pie meets shepherd’s pie in this colourful and hearty casserole that is sure to become a new family favourite. Poaching the chicken in seasoned broth keeps the meat tender and moist, and the resulting enhanced broth boosts the flavour of the filling. Roasting the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them adds a depth of flavour and makes for a firm topping that holds. For convenience, you can make all of the components ahead, then assemble and bake when you’re ready to eat (see TIP below). Serve a crispy, citrus-dressed salad on the side.

12 skinless bone-in chicken thighs, about 3 lbs (1.5 kg)
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
¼ onion, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly cracked pepper
About 4 cups (1 L) chicken stock

3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 lbs (1.5 kg)
1½ cups (375 mL) fresh bread crumbs, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) butter, cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
4 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
¾ onion, chopped
½ tsp (2 mL) dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1½ cups (375 mL) frozen green peas, thawed and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. For the chicken and broth, place chicken thighs in a large pot. Add carrot, celery, onion, bay leaves, pepper and ½ tsp (2 mL) salt (if using unsalted stock add 1 tsp/5 mL salt). Pour in enough stock to just cover vegetables, adding a little water, if necessary. Cover and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set lid slightly ajar and reduce heat to a gentle simmer; poach chicken for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

2. Transfer chicken to a shallow dish; let cool. Let enhanced broth cool with vegetables in it.

3. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove bones and tear or cut chicken into bitesize chunks. Cover and refrigerate while preparing topping and filling.

4. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and spoon off fat that floats on top. Measure 2½ cups (625 mL) for the filling, reserving remaining for another use.

5. For the sweet potato topping, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

6. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 1¼ hours or until soft.

7. Meanwhile, spread 1 cup (250 mL) of the bread crumbs in a pie plate and toast alongside the sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Set sweet potatoes aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

8. While the sweet potatoes roast, make the filling. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and sauté for 2 minutes, until onions start to wilt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes or until onions are softened. Add rosemary and thyme and sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (do not let brown).

9. Gradually pour in enhanced broth, while whisking, then add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often; boil, whisking, for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in chicken and peas; season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread into a large, deep (about 16-cup/4-L) casserole dish.

10. When sweet potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and place in a large bowl. Mash with butter and season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside. Stir in toasted bread crumbs. Spread on top of chicken filling; sprinkle with remaining untoasted (fresh) bread crumbs.

11. Bake for about 45 minutes or until bubbling and hot and topping is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

TIP To make ahead, make the chicken and broth and filling, chilling sauce before adding the chicken and the peas. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Roast sweet potatoes and toast bread crumbs as directed. Mash the sweet potatoes with butter when hot, but don’t add the toasted bread crumbs (store them covered at room temperature). Cover and refrigerate potatoes for up to 2 days. Up to 8 hours before serving, stir toasted bread crumbs into sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Spread filling into casserole dish and top with potatoes (do not add bread crumbs on top). Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Bake, covered, for about 45 minutes or until warm in the centre. Uncover, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until hot in the centre and topping is golden brown.

What to Serve

Stock Type464800