potpie

Two things come together. Today is probably the coldest day of the year locally: just above freezing in the morning, only into the 50s (F.) in the afternoon, so thoughts of warm comfort food are not far away: mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, and so on. And then the December/January Details has a feature (p. 36) on trendy versions of pot pie (or pot-pie or potpie, as you will). So it’s pot pie day.

Please don’t write to tell me what wusses we are out here, to complain about such temperatures. But every place has its own weather/climate patterns, and (as I’ve written before) going far off these for a significant amount of time (even hours) can be truly disastrous in these parts.

Then Details. The lifestyle sections of the magazine are given to the extremely trendy and the very high end, if possible both at once. So this will not be your grandmother’s (chicken) pot pie. But first some words about grandma.

From OED3 (December 2006) on pot-pie:

U.S. Originally: a pie filled with meat, game, fruit, etc., and cooked in a pot or a deep pie pan. Now also more generally: a pie, typically with a savoury filling of meat and vegetables. [first cite 1823]

So: a pie with a stew (clasically, chicken, with carrots, peas, onions, and celery) in it, or such a stew in (or under) a piecrust. Some pot pies have a full crust, some only the top. And, if you’re Pennsylvania Dutch, your “bott boi” might have no crust at all. From Wikipedia:

Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie is a stew and has no pastry. It is usually made of a combination of chicken, ham, beef, or wild game with square-cut egg noodles, potatoes, and a stock of onion, celery and parsley.

(British and Australian meat pies may have a top of flaky piecrust, but usually have a body of a more stable shortcrust or the like.)

There’s lots of room here for variation. Which brings us to the trendiness:

Belcampo Meat Co., L.A.: oxtail, acorn squash, leek, fried sage

Le Pigeon, Portland OR: smoked rabbit and cheddar pie with mustard “ice cream”;  and a pie of bacon and eel (not just any eel, but unagi marinated in soy, sugar, and mirin) with broccoli ice cream

The Forge, Miami: black-truffle mac and cheese potpie, with bread crumbs for a crust, plus Parmesan, mascarpone, Cheddar, raclette, preserved black truffles

Clio, Boston: black-truffle and abalone pie (truffle fondue of pigs’ feet and chicken fat)

High West Distillery & Saloon, Park City UT: chicken, rye whiskey, locally hunted pheasant

The NoMad Bar, NYC: chicken pie, black-truffle cream, skewer of foie gras

Portrait of the last, with the black-truffle cream and foie-gras skewer before they’re inserted into the pie. Note the actual pot:

It seems to be a big year for black truffles.

2 Responses to “potpie”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    My mother made a pretty good pie crust, and for me the turkey pot pie that followed Thanksgiving was generally more interesting than the turkey itself.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Ned Deily on FB points to more pot pie in the news:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/29/us/pot-pie-redefined-chefs-start-to-experiment-with-cannabis.html

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