Among fall's root veggie heroes, humble turnips rarely get their due. But there's so much to praise: Toothy and succulent, peppery and sweet, turnips add amazing complexity to hearty cool-weather cooking. "Growing up, they were a big part of my life, and now as a chef, I really appreciate how versatile they are," says chef Cory Bahr of Cotton in Monroe, Louisiana, and a 2012 winner on Chopped! "This time of year, they're at their best, so full of natural sweetness with a real balance of flavor."
On the Cotton menu, Bahr takes full advantage of the peak season for turnips: "We use them raw in coleslaws, fry them like French fries, work them into soups, pair them with seafood or red meat, serve them glazed along with duck breast—you name it." In his potpie, which features local rabbit at Cotton (we've subbed chicken), turnips are part of a fantastic seasonal veggie blend in the filling, along with sweet carrots, pleasantly bitter Brussels sprouts, and meaty shiitakes. Try Bahr's original dish at Cotton this month.
DROP BISCUIT CHICKEN POTPIEHands-on: 60 min.Total: 2 hr. 30 min.
Buttery buttermilk biscuits make this family-style fave irresistible, and they couldn't be simpler to prepare, even for biscuit novices. Cooking the chicken bone-in makes it more flavorful and moist, but for convenience, you can substitute 4 cups diced skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Brown them first, and then mix into the filling to bake in the last step.
6.75 ounces self-rising flour (about 1½ cups)6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed9 tablespoons nonfat buttermilkCooking spray2 tablespoons canola oil, divided1 (3½-pound) chicken, cut into 6 pieces and skinned1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided2½ cups chopped peeled carrot (4 medium)2½ cups chopped peeled turnip (2 medium)1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced2 shallots, thinly sliced½ cup riesling or other white wine4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)5 tablespoons all-purpose flour8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise3 cups halved shiitake mushroom caps (about 12)
1. Preheat oven to 500°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon self-rising flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place self-rising flour in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; toss with a fork until moist. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray to make 32 biscuits. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool on wire racks. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Remove from pan.
4. Add carrot and next 5 ingredients (through shallots) to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced to ¼ cup (about 2 minutes). Add stock; bring to a boil. Add browned chicken. Cover and place in oven; bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Remove from oven. Remove chicken from pan, and let stand 5 minutes.
5. Remove chicken from bones; discard bones. Strain liquid over a bowl; reserve solids. Combine ½ cup cooking liquid and all-purpose flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and remaining cooking liquid to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add Brussels sprouts, cut sides down, to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, and mushrooms to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
7. Combine chicken, carrot mixture, cooking liquid, and mushroom mixture in a 13 × 9–inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange biscuits evenly over chicken mixture. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
SERVES 8 (serving size: 1½ cups chicken mixture and 4 biscuits)CALORIES 381; FAT 15.5g (sat 6.6g, mono 5.5g, poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 23g; CARB 34g; FIBER 4g; CHOL 76mg; IRON 3mg; SODIUM 712mg; CALC 159mg