Oftentimes chefs don’t want to cook another meal when they get home after an arduous 12-hour stretch behind the burners. But throwing together a comforting snack to help take the edge off the day is another proposition entirely. These scrumptious nibbles don’t require a degree from the Culinary Institute of America to make, but they’re worthy of winning a Top Chef Quickfire Challenge.
This week’s chef knows a thing or two about Quickfire Challenges, since he won a few of them when he competed on the reality show. But when we asked Bryan Voltaggio for a recipe for the Little Bites column, he didn’t want to share something that you could whip up in 10 minutes flat. Instead, he gave us a recipe for his Chicken and Biscuits soup, which has helped earn his canalside grab ‘n’ go Lunchbox a strong following. Even though this will take you a couple of hours to put together, this spoonable spin on the Southern favorite is more than worth it.
- 1 large Spanish onion, small diced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and small diced
- 2 celery roots, peeled and small diced
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of thyme, picked and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 3 quarts chicken stock or broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 chicken thighs
- ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 ounces all purpose flour
- 10 grams granulated sugar
- 13 grams salt
- 1/16 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 4 ounces butter
- 9 ounces buttermilk
- ¼ cup finely chopped chives
- ¼ cup shredded white cheddar (optional)
- In a large, heavy bottom pot add oil and place on medium high heat. Add onions and garlic; sweat vegetables for about 2-3 minutes or until translucent being careful not to brown vegetables.
- Next add the parsnip and celery root and stir together well, cook vegetables for an additional 3-4 minutes or until vegetables start to sweat.
- Add the chicken stock and herbs and bring soup to a simmer; let soup continue to simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are completely softened.
- Transfer soup in batches into a blender, blend on high speed until smooth consistency is reached.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieves and mix salt into soup well; reserve for use.
- Remove the bones for chicken thighs from flesh side. Be careful to cut close to the bone, so the thigh is left in its entirety.
- Season the chicken thighs evenly with salt and place neatly into a cryovac bag or food saver bag.
- Crush the garlic with the side of a knife or by hand just to break it up; place garlic, whole thyme and olive oil into the bag and seal completely.
- In a circulating water bath preheated to 165° Fahrenheit, place the bag and allow to cook for one hour.
- Once time has elapsed remove bag and place into an ice bath to cool.
- Once cool open the bag and remove the skin from the chicken and wipe the garlic and thyme off. Cut or break chicken into bite-sized pieces and reserve for use.
- Mix all dry ingredients together well in a large mixing bowl.
- Cut butter into ½” cubes and allow to stand at room temperature to soften. Once butter is soft, add to dry mixture along with buttermilk, cheddar and chives; knead mixture loosely together. It’s okay for mixture to not be completely incorporated.
- Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in refrigeration for about 20-30 minutes.
- Once time has elapsed remove the bowl from the refrigerator and lay the dough onto a lightly floured worktop. Lightly sprinkle top of dough with flour and using a rolling pin roll out dough to a sheet about ½” thick.
- Fold the sides of the dough to the center, creating three layers, then roll the dough back out to ½” thickness again, sprinkling with flour as needed.
- Using a 2” diameter ring mold cutter punch out biscuits and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Place biscuits into a preheated oven at 350° Fahrenheit, set a timer for 8 minutes then rotate the trays and return to the oven for an additional 8 minutes.
- Once golden brown remove from oven and allow to cool.
To assemble the soup:
- Bring soup that has been pureed to a boil in a heavy bottom pot.
- Add the chicken pieces to the soup to allow to heat up.
- Serve in a bowl with desired amount and break biscuits up into crouton size pieces and sprinkle atop the soup.
- Serves six.