September 23rd is National Great American Pot Pie Day, celebrating a favorite American comfort food. Pot pie (also spelled potpie) is a misappropriated name. Originally, “pot pie” referred to a crustless mixture of meat pie ingredients and noodles, stewed in a pot on the stove top.
Over time, the term became used to designate a meat pie with conventional crusts, baked in the oven in a deep pie plate or casserole dish.
Meat pies likely date back to the milling of flour in ancient times, but before the invention of pie plates, which came many centuries later.
Very thick crusts were used as baking vessels (but were not eaten, due to the high proportion of salt required to stiffen the crust).
Meat pies in large vessels made of crust were popular banquet fare during the Roman Empire, as anyone who has seen Fellini Satyricon can attest.
By the 16th century, the English gentry revived the ancient custom of meat pies. Venison was the meat of choice.
The recipe crossed the pond to America, where it became as American as…pot pie!
The pot pie can be baked without a bottom crust but with a conventional top crust or a biscuit topping (the dough is dropped onto the top), like a cobbler. Personally, we prefer a crisp biscuit to a crust.
POT PIE VARIATIONS
While most people immediately think of chicken pot pie, pot pies are made today from any type of meat, poultry, fish or seafood, as well as vegetarian varieties. If you have venison, by all means enjoy a historic venison pot pie.
Some of our favorite spins on pot pie:
RECIPE: CHICKEN POT PIE BAKED POTATO
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and prick with the tines of a fork. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until they are fork tender. Meanwhile…
2. HEAT the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook until no longer pink in the middle, another 3-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and keep warm.
3. ADD 1 tablespoon of butter to any meat drippings left in the skillet and melt. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and salt and bring back to a boil. Add the vegetable medley and cooked chicken. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until hot.
4. MELT the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
5. CUT each baked potato in half. Top with pot pie mixture and breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.