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American Classic

History repeating itself, one delicious meal at a time.

Was there ever a time chicken pot pies didn’t exist? Food historians trace meat pies with poultry to the Roman era, and in America the dish appears in cookbooks in the early 1800s. Even Laura Ingalls Wilder mentions chicken pies in the Little House on the Prairie book series.

Clearly, some ideas have staying power, and when a meal is this versatile and satisfying, it’s likely chicken pot pies will be bringing warmth to wintry family dinners for another thousand years. With so many variations to enjoy — full-size, individual, casseroles topped with biscuits and dumplings — it’s time to dig in.

Easy as ___.

It’s true that sometimes a chicken pot pie can look like a remarkable feat of kitchen wizardry. But looks can be deceiving. The basics are simply chicken, vegetables, a cream sauce, seasonings and a crust. The chicken comes down to whatever’s most convenient — roasted leftovers, deli rotisserie, poached and more.

Seasonal veggies are always a good choice. Right now root vegetables are coming into their own, and you can vary the amount of chicken and vegetables depending on what’s handy. Make a crust if you like, but pre-made options definitely save time. Just check the refrigerated or frozen section of your grocery store to see what’s available.

Decisions, decisions.

With so many possibilities to choose from, where do you start? The baking dish might be a practical beginning — round or rectangular, smaller for single servings or bigger for a group feast. Family members can weigh in on ingredients for fillings. And the final choice is the best of all. Chicken pot pies can be served hot, frozen for later, reheated on busy weeknights or given as gifts. This is comfort food with a can-do attitude.