Chicken Pot Pie: An American Classic

Historically, Americans inherited their fondness for chicken pot pie from the English, whose cooks were recorded as being very enthusiastic about meat pies. English chefs in more elite households are known to have produced extravagant creations that ranged from pies filled with small chicks stuffed with gooseberries to versions filled with five separate birds stuffed into one another in sequential order (think turducken on steroids).

Some people say that chicken pot pies can be traced even further back, to the ancient Greeks, who cooked meats along with other ingredients in pastry shells that were open at the top. It wasn’t until the time of the Romans that these creations were covered, thus resulting in something much closer to the modern chicken pot pie.

A Taste of Home

Chicken pot pie is definitely a favorite comfort food that’s right up there in the list of family favorites along with meatloaf with mashed potatoes and apple pie. It’s simple to make and nutritious, and it warms the body and soul — especially during the colder months.

In its most simplistic form, it’s chicken and mixed vegetables coated in a thick gravy and poured into a pie shell before baking in a hot oven. You can go gourmet by making stock from scratch and using fresh vegetables, but chicken pot pie made with frozen mixed veg, leftover chicken and store-bought chicken stock tastes wonderful as well. If you don’t have a lot of time, feel free to purchase premade pie crusts and/or dough instead of making your own. 

How Do You Prepare Chicken Pot Pie?

There are numerous chicken pot pie recipes to be found in cookbooks and online, so it’s easy for you to find something suitable for your particular preferences. For instance, consider this chicken pot pie recipe, which makes excellent use of chicken plus various vegetable ingredients:

  • Start by sauteing carrots, onions, celery and garlic in butter while stirring in flour.
  • Introduce broth before stirring chicken, peas and other ingredients into the mixture.
  • Pour the result into a pie shell, and then roll pastry over the top to create the cover.
  • Bake the pie in the oven until the whole thing turns a wonderful golden color.
  • For an even richer crust, brush it lightly with an egg wash — an egg beaten with a little bit of water — before baking.

Are There Any Variations On Chicken Pot Pie?

The oven is a popular method for cooking chicken pot pie, but there are other methods, such as this recipe for cooking the pie using a skillet. When cooking for a crowd, consider turning chicken pot pie into a casserole. Simply pour the filling into a buttered casserole dish, and then top it with a layer of pie crust dough, puff pastry or uncooked biscuits. 

Kitchen diva Martha Stewart has multiple variations on this classic dish. Her curried chicken pot pie has an exotic flair, while her tomato-and-corn chicken pot pie puts a new spin on a classic dish. Other recipes use additional ingredients or spices, including mushrooms, thyme and marjoram. 

Chicken pot pies can be made using different combinations of ingredients, so some experimentation can be very rewarding if you’re an adventurous cook who like to customize recipes to suit your own tastes. There are also other kinds of pot pies that can be made using meats such as beef, turkey and pork for those who want to use something other than poultry.

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