Not all pies are sweet
As I pulled this recipe from my file the other day, a thought popped into my mind:
The pot pie seems to be an American thing, a name contrived to distinguish the savory pastry from the sweet variety. In other countries — particularly the United Kingdom — it would simply be a pie, the word having a broader connotation.
A quick Internet search didn’t turn up much about the origin of the pot pie, except that it is a “term for a type of baked savory pie with a bottom and top completely encased by flaky crusts and baked inside a pie tin to support its shape.” I assume the “pot” refers to that tin.
Or maybe the name is a variation on a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty. In that region, there is a dish called “bot boi,” a stew made up of meat, square-cut egg noodles, potatoes and a stock derived from onion, celery and parsley. Bot boi = pot pie? It may be a stretch, but it’s one theory.
During my growing up years in the Rickers’ household, the pot pie was something of a special treat. It was not part of DotMom’s repertoire, however. The only pot pies I ever consumed back then were of the frozen variety, a convenience food that was allowed when Mom and Dad were going out for supper on a Saturday night. The pot pie — be it chicken, turkey or beef — was always served up with a side of cottage cheese, an accompaniment I still enjoy.
But I haven’t heated up one of those frozen pies since this homemade version was shared by friend Cheri a few years ago. It takes advantage of one of my favorite convenience products — refrigerated pie crusts — making it relatively painless to put together.
Notes from the kitchen:
* The original recipe specifies 1 teaspoon onion flakes; I have substituted chopped onion because I prefer the flavor.
* I most often use a frozen mix of carrots, peas, beans and corn in this recipe, but it is also good with a California blend or just broccoli. Turkey (think Thanksgiving leftovers) or beef can also be substituted for the chicken; if using beef, use beef bouillon.
* To keep the pastry edges from getting too dark, cover with foil or use a metal pie ring.
*Toward the end of the cooking time, the filling will try to escape from the crust. Be sure and put a pan under the pie to avoid a mess in the bottom of your oven.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.