Ina’s Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Ina’s Chicken Stew with Biscuits

This riff of Ina’s Chicken Stew with Biscuits was reinvented into a lower fat version that is make-able on a weeknight. We enjoyed this dinner as a family of 4 (soon to be 5!) for many reasons: it was quick (less than 30 minutes), one pan (easy clean up) and everyone ate it.

I love that old school, traditional feeling of making just one thing for dinner, and that’s it. No kids meals needed. And I think the kids feel proud knowing that they tried something new.

When it comes to feeding kids and making dinner, picky eaters is the biggest obstacle I hear parents talk about. And I can always relate to that. There is a really good podcast that helped me navigate this, and it’s called We Tackle Picky Eaters with Pediatric Nutritionist Jill Castle. After listening to this expert speak about this topic, I put her strategies into place, and I have found that the more new foods or presentations of food that I put in front of them, the less picky they get and the more they are willing to try.

Rewind. It’s has been a long road of this, and I don’t want to make it sound easy or simple to get a picky eater to be more adventurous at the table. Because it’s not easy. I think I started using the techniques that Jill Castle recommended at the beginning of the pandemic. That was over a year and a half ago, and we are finally having more wins than losses. I use to stress about them not filling their bellies at dinner, but the reality is, if they come to the table hungry, they will eat more, and if they had too many snacks before dinner or a snack too close to dinner, it’s not going to go very well. Worst case scenario is they don’t eat the dinner and there is always whole wheat bread and butter or a banana that you can give them on the side. And if there’s no time for that, a really good breakfast the next morning. So I guess my point is, holding my ground to “this is what’s for dinner and then the kitchen is closed” has made them adjust.

So back to this dish and how it translates to picky eaters. The kids weren’t thrilled to see their veggies and chicken in a gravy, but were enticed by the biscuits. A year and a half ago, my daughter wouldn’t have been willing to even try it. But it’s clear that Jill Castle’s recommendations are working because, last night, after one bite of the sauce, they realized that this could be one of the yummiest ways to eat those veggies! And Adam and I loved this too. 

For the sauce, I cut out a lot of the fats.

There’s a lot of flour, butter, chicken stock, bouillon cubes (key ingredient) in this, and Ina uses heavy cream which I’m sure is delicious, but I went with a creamy oat milk instead. Her recipe called for ¾ cups of flour, which seemed like too much, but with a whopping five cups of chicken stock and some milk, it is absolutely necessary to use all that flour to make this thick and yummy. Ina knows best!

As for the butter, Ina calls for 1½ sticks of butter, which is A LOT. I changed this to 5 tablespoons instead, and even less if you have some congealed chicken fat renderings at the bottom of your rotisserie chicken to work with giving you natural fats and lots of flavor. 

The other changes were omitting the onions and substituting whole peeled and diced carrots with a box of frozen sliced carrots. This cuts down the time and work by about 20 minutes, and the carrots were delish! The only chopping required is cutting your pre-cooked chicken breast into cubes, and finely chop some fresh herbs, if you have them, or use dried.

The onion, which I didn’t use, fits nicely into this dish, and was not missed. I do have a thing for pearl onions though, and you can sometimes find these peeled and frozen as a nice, easy addition to the chicken stew. So you will see those listed as optional in the recipe below.

Ina, of course, makes homemade biscuits for this. But since Hardly Homemade is all about recipes when time is not on your side, we are using the store-bought ready to bake biscuits (such as Pillsbury or Annie’s). 

Tip: You may even want to buy and cook one extra container of biscuits on the side depending on how many people you are feeding because they will go fast.

What makes this hardly homemade? 

  • store-bought stock
  • minced garlic from the jar
  • store-bought biscuits 
  • frozen pre-cut veggies
  • pre-cooked chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken

What you will need: 

  1. one of the two things-
    • Large cast iron or enameled cast iron skillet
    • If you don’t have one of those, use the combo of pot and large, deep baking dish.
  2. saucepan
  3. wooden spoon
  4. cutting board and knife 
  5. whisk

So, you could follow Ina’s recipe, follow her recipe with my adjustments, or just go by this one below.

Ina's Chicken Stew with Biscuits

October 7, 2021
: 5-6
: 15 min
: 15 min
: 30 min
: Easy

This is Ina's Chicken Stew with Biscuits reinvented into something that is lower in fat and make-able on a weeknight. It's delicious comfort food at its best, and I can rest assured my kids ate their veggies and there's only one pan to clean. I hope this one works for you and your people.


  • 2-3 whole pre-cooked chicken breasts or 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from the jar)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain oat milk or creamer or dairy substitute
  • 1 package of frozen pre-cut carrots
  • 1 package of frozen peas
  • 1 package of frozen pearl onions (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of a mix of sage and thyme (dried or finely chopped) or poultry seasoning
  • Step 1 Cube the chicken ahead of time because the rest of the steps go quickly. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a saucepan, heat 5 cups of chicken stock and dissolve the two bouillon cubes in the stock. Take out a large deep oven proof enameled or regular cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one of these, use a stock pot for this step. Now, melt the butter.
  • Step 2 When the butter is melted, saute a tablespoon of minced garlic from the jar and add the herbs or seasoning. Add ¼ cup of the flour to the butter and garlic and cook over low heat. Whisk away. Add the hot chicken stock to the flour mixture. Add the rest of the flour (½ c more) and a couple spoonfuls of congealed chicken fat renderings from the bottom of the rotisserie chicken (if you have them) and whisk away for 2-3 more minutes. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 1 teaspoon salt (more if your chicken stock is low sodium), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the oat milk or dairy substitute. Add the cubed chicken, carrots and peas. Mix well.
  • Step 3 At this point, if you are using the cast iron skillet, the stew is going right in the oven just like that. But if it’s in the stock pot, pour the stew into a large and deep baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Pull the rack out of the oven and arrange the biscuits on the top of the stew. Bake until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly. Enjoy!