Pot pie is the subject of numerous spirited kitchen debates, dividing cooks between the “pot” camp and the “pie” camp. “Pie” cooks hold sway across much of the country, maintaining that chicken pot pie is an actual “pie” filled with a thick stew of chicken, corn, peas, and potatoes, topped with a pie crust or biscuit topping, and baked in the oven.
“Pot” cooks, on the other hand, call the above dish “chicken pie,” pointing out accurately enough the lack of a “pot” involved. You can bet dollar for dollar a “pot” cook is Pennsylvania Dutch, or at least learned to cook in Southeastern Pennsylvania or Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
They maintain that pot pie, also called slippery pot pie, or “bott boi” in Pennsylvania Dutch, is more of a thick soup or thin stew. Pot pie begins with a savory broth often made with leftovers, fortified with a meat of choice, potatoes, carrots, and celery, seasoned with salt, parsley, and maybe saffron.
It’s the noodles that make it pot “pie.” Homemade noodles, or squares of dough, are added raw one at a time to the simmering stock. The noodles do two things: They turn a basic soup into a hearty, filling meal, and the extra flour from rolling them out serves to thicken the broth. In a pinch, wide egg noodles or pasta bowties can be used instead of fresh noodles, but you’ll need to thicken the broth a bit. Otherwise, your pot pie is really just noodle soup.
Most of the recipes listed here are for chicken pot pie. I’m not sure why most printed pot pie recipes call for chicken; some of the best pot pies are made with other meats. Some of my favorites include ham or beef, but just about any meat works well. Replace chicken and stock with your meat of choice if you wish: turkey, venison, smoked sausage, or even clams make delicious pot pie. When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes make pot pie with pheasant — if I was quick enough with the shotgun.
Andrew Weidman lives and writes in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Slippery Pot Pie is one of his favorite comfort foods, and he’s sure you’ll love it too. Ist autly gute, daenk schnet? (It’s awfully good, don’t you think?)