The chicken pot pie is a variation of the classic pot pie recipe, which alternatively uses beef or turkey as main ingredient. The recipe has been adopted many times top local cuisine in various cultures throughout history. It's become a staple comfort food for many people who grew up loving the aroma of a freshly baked pie on a cold winter day. The recipe's mix of meat and vegetables in a chicken broth seasoned with herbs produces a spectrum of flavors that's quite interesting to the palate. Other than the traditional recipe, this pot pie has been baked in empanada wrappers and also like little Italian calzones as a way to make them portable.
A Brief History of Pot Pies
The recipe for this classic comfort food is somewhat straightforward: pieces of meat are cooked in broth and vegetables until almost dry, and a creamy gravy is added before everything's baked into a savory pie. Although the chicken pot pie has a more commonplace position in society today, the recipe was actually a proprietary dish served in banquets and quiet dinners attended by the affluent and the nobles. Chefs hired to cook for the royalty considered their pot pie recipes as precious commodities because they belabored over the artful presentation of their dishes.
Some say the pot pie dates back to the Romans while others think it was a favorite meal during the Middle Ages. The pie's origins don't seem as important, though, as the reason why the recipe later became a favorite dish among the peasantry. The peasants modified some of the pie's ingredients to include leftover meat dishes. Baking them all together inside a pie crust made for a very stomach-filling meal for a large family. Most of all, eating a freshly baked chicken pot pie warms the stomach on a chilly day.
Variations of the Chicken Pot Pie
Tracing the origins of the pot pie recipe, which uses chicken as its main ingredient, reveals around five or more variations of this savory dish. To begin with, the American recipe may differ from the British steak pies, the Canadian tourtiere, and the Australian meat pies. Also, the Chinese dumplings, Iranian matzah balls, and Jewish kreplach resemble the empanada-style pot pie. They're usually cooked in soup dishes along with vegetables and optionally added with noodles.
Childhood Rhymes About the Pot Pie
A couple of lines in the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" included a reference to pot pie's place on the Royal table. It described live blackbirds - all twenty-four of them - baked inside the pie, which was a form of gustatory entertainment or entrement for the guests. Meanwhile, a British school ground rhyme in the 1940s has referenced the Cornish pasty which is similar to the pot pie recipe. This time, however the four apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ate a five-foot long pasty full of mice. Nevertheless, pot pies in Cornwall and New Zealand were recognized as cultural identifiers and their variant recipes were given protected status by authorities.
The chicken pot pie isn't the only recipe that uses meat and vegetables cooked in broth and baked into a pastry. Looking for easy chicken recipes? Read more about it here.
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