Chicken Pot Pie: Explore The Legacy Of This Classic Comfort Food

A crisp flaky crust encompassing a rich and creamy chicken filling, what could be better? The Chicken Pot Pie is a beloved staple of bakery fare and is best enjoyed on a chilly evening alongside a warm hearty mash. But although it's such a stalwart of global cuisine, it has some lofty heritage and dates back to ancient Greece.

Back then the Greeks used to take cooked meat and place it inside open pastry shells and bake them into a dish called Artocreas. It wasn’t until the Romans came along and picked up the dish that they added a top crust and turned it into the closed pie we know better today. Though the Romans had a flair for the dramatic and often placed live birds in the pies ready to fly out when they cut into them. 

In England, there are also links between a thick stew-like dish from the Middle Ages called Pottage (from the French ‘potage’, meaning soup) which was first mentioned in a 14th-century cookbook called “The Forme of Cury” and contained recipes for dishes that were served at the royal court of King Richard II. In 1747, Hannah Glasse published her book titled “The Art Of Cookery Made Plain And Easy” which included recipes for pottage with various ingredients such as mutton, beef, veal, bacon and oysters and these pottages might have been the launchpad for pot pie fillings. 

In 16th century England, Britons were bringing back the trend of meat pies and the trend was soon sweeping the country. The pastry creations were often decorated with intricate designs and sometimes famed chefs would have their own signature decorations. Though the recipes for what we know as a pot pie date back to 1796 the name ‘pot pie’ wasn’t coined until almost 1839 many years after the actual chicken pie was conceived. 

It was the settlers who came to America in the 18th century who brought their chicken pie recipes with them and transformed them into what we know today. And it was with the publishing of the first cookbook entitled “American Cookery” that the dish really took off. This cookbook included recipes for Stew Pie, Sea Pie, and Chicken Pie which are all variations on Pot Pie.

Since it appeared in an American cookbook, pot pie has continued to grow and evolve into the dish we know today. The 1950s saw pot pies hit freezer sections across the country and become a household staple. It was not unheard of for frozen meals to be on the rise after the war, and pot pies were not an exception. 

Today the pot pie is a mainstay of kitchens worldwide and whether they’re a quick meal or a Sunday evening indulgence, the dish is a comfort to many and loved for its blend of comfort and simplicity.