Pot Pies: Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

Pot Pies: Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

Posted by Amy on Nov 25th 2022

It’s officially that time of year when flannel sheets go on the bed, sweaters are back in the rotation, and comfort food is a must to combat the early darkness and chill. Pot pies are comfort food at its finest -- an all-in-one meal that both fills and warms you up. While they’re easy enough to find in the freezer section of your grocery store, there is nothing like a homemade pot pie. Plus they are surprisingly easy to make if you follow a simple formula. Homemade pot pie is one of those wonderful foods where there are no rules, just guidelines.

Pot Pies: Crust

We know we said homemade pot pie, but we love to use a pre-made assist for our crust. You can skew traditional and pick up a pre-made pie crust, or you can have a little fun. If you’re a fan of all things flaky, pick up some phyllo dough. Add as many layers as you like, brushing each with a bit of olive oil before adding the next. Our favorite crusty shortcut is puff pastry, which is sold in sheets. Cut it to fit your pie dish for a truly decadent pot pie. You can even top your pot pie filling with biscuit dough for the ultimate in comfort food. Of course, if you want your homemade pot pie to truly be homemade, use your favorite pie crust recipe.

Traditional American pot pies are known for only having a flaky top crust; however, many store-bought pot pies have a bottom crust. If you decide to use a bottom crust, make sure you blind bake it to help it remain firm and crisp, even after you fill it. Be sure to pierce your bottom crust before blind baking to keep it from puffing too much.

Pot Pies: Meat and Veggies

Pot pie is an ideal way to give your leftovers a makeover. Thanksgiving is coming up, and we can’t wait to turn our turkey, green beans, potatoes, and gravy into a homemade pot pie. Any filling you add to your pot pie should be pre-cooked. Everything from Costco’s famous rotisserie chicken to last night’s beef stew is fair game.

We keep a stash of precooked frozen veggies in the freezer to speed along weeknight dinner prep. Combine pearl onions, peas, and carrots for a traditional pot pie. If you’d like something a little brighter, sauté fresh mushrooms and leeks with spinach. For a vegetarian pot pie, try a hearty vegetable medley like squash, onions and carrots, or mushrooms, shallots and eggplant.

This recipe from Food & Wine combines two top comfort foods: French onion soup and chicken pot pie. It will definitely make an appearance on our winter table.

Pot Pies: Gravy

Every pot pie needs moisture, and you absolutely cannot go wrong with gravy. Start with a simple roux, using a liquid that complements the meat and veggies you’re using.

For example, use beef stock for a pot pie made with leftover beef stew. Likewise, chicken stock is ideal for a chicken pot pie, and vegetable stock will keep your vegetarian pot pie meat-free. We keep premade, frozen stock on hand for just such an occasion.

Pot Pies: Serving Suggestions

We like to make pot pies in individual aluminum loaf pans so we can freeze them and serve them later. For serving pot pies right from the oven, we love using mini pie dishes for individual servings. Classic cast iron skillets are also fabulous for serving a pot pie with filling so hot it’s still bubbling.

However you choose to make your homemade pot pie, we hope you’ll share the results with us!