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Chicken Pot Pie vs Chicken Pie

My friends and I were watching the Barefoot Contessa, and she made a Lobster Pot Pie, I started the argument by saying that it was not true pot pie. Being from Central PA, pot pie to us is a rib sticking concoction of any meat, (but mostly chicken), flat wide "pot pie" noodles and potatos all smothered with gravy. Yes! It is an Amish dish. My Calif friend said that this is only true in PA, and that the rest of the country calls a meat pie, pot pie. Hence my confusion. I keep thinking back to the Swanson's Chicken Pies. They are called just "Chicken Pies". What started this again was the the thread "Best Frozen Chicken Pot Pie. I say it is NOT pot pie if it has a crust.

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  1. Being from Mass a pot pie definitely does have a crust - maybe double, maybe just top. Meat, potato, gravy and veggies if desired. Meat, noodles and potato with gravy sounds like stew to me. That's what regions are for I guess !

    1. Might as well argue what is a cobbler. To me a pot pie has a biscuit top. Cobbler has a bottom and top crust. I bet both terms mean several things to different people.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sueatmo

        For me, a pot pie has a top and bottom crust, and a cobbler has a biscuit topping.

      2. Pie vs Pot Pie

        I only know one thing which is pot pies. Whether it is individual or a larger one it has a crust, bottom or top and least it has one or both. Chicken or beer in a rich gravy veggies, NO noodles and baked. That to me is pot pie.

        Noodles is stew like. To me no crust, not a pot pie. Otherwise it is a stew.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kchurchill5

          I agree with kchurchill. I've had a lot of pot pies, and none of them have ever had noodles.

        2. Whether Swanson calls theirs 'chicken pie' or 'chicken pot pie', I grew up hearing 'pot pie'. 'Chicken pie' doesn't sound quite right.

          Chicken with wide noodles and gravy sounds more like one version of 'chicken and dumplings'. In this version the dumplings are actually thick, somewhat chewy, noodles. Of course there's another version that has a light biscuit steamed on top.

          1. Swanson most definitely calls their products POT pies, as evidenced on their website: http://www.swansonmeals.com/

            What you described as pot pie would be considered some sort of casserole/goulash by my family, and they are from the Pittsburgh area!

            1. what Garten calls a pot pie is what jfood grew up knowing was and still is, a pot pie. What you describe sounds more like a stew than a pie but it is unclear what the "flat wide "pot pie" noodles" are made from. Are they noodles in the pasta sense or are the "noodles" as in wide strips of pastry-type dough?

              If you could be a little more descriptive on the make-up of the noodles it would be very helpful.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jfood

                They are made from Pie Dough also called "Tailors patches"

              2. I should have been more specific in my PP rant, it is PA Dutch Chicken Pot Pie and you all are right it is a regional thing.


                5 Replies
                1. re: kpaumer

                  That picture looks like a beautiful plate of some comfort food whether you call it a pot pie or a stew.

                  Thanks KP

                  1. re: kpaumer

                    That reminds me of what we would call chicken and pastry in NC. But here the pastry is about 1-1.5. inches thick.

                    Also very good.

                    1. re: kpaumer

                      I live in Central PA but my roots are in CT and MD. Only PA pot pie/bott boi has pot pie noodles without crust. Sometimes called slippery pot pie. Anywhere else will be some crusted pie like item. It is strictly regional.

                      1. re: melpy

                        Yes, bott boi..... became "pot pie." It's a word thing.

                      2. re: kpaumer

                        Wow that looks delicious, but if you asked me what it is I would never respond "pot pie." I have no idea the technical definition, but to me I have always known a pot pie to be meat usually with other vegetables in a thick slurry type mixture with top and/or bottom crust but I think I associate it more with top and bottom crust and haven't been served many top onlys.

                      3. IMO, this is so basic.
                        Pot pie has only "top" crust, and usually served family style, hence "pot!"
                        A Meat pie, has both, bottom and top crust, and traditionally the crust is made with lard.
                        I'm one of those crazies who makes individual, "straight sided" pies. The slanted sides, NOT traditional.
                        When made properly, they are served WITHOUT the baking dish/pan.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JAKKEL

                          Is that just your opinion, or is there a long family history behind this?

                          Google ngram for 'chicken pie', and 'chicken pot pie'
                          At least in print, 'chicken pie' is the older term. Now 'chicken pot pie' is as common.

                          Some old cookbook references to 'chicken pot pie'

                          I don't see a clear pattern. 'chicken pie' is more likely to have a full crust, 'pot pie' more likely to have just a top crust, or 'dumplings', but there are exceptions.

                        2. I lived many years in Maryland with happy trips north of the border for Pennsylvania Dutch food. Calling chicken & noodles "pot pie" is a regional thing in Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. As far as I know the whole rest of the country says "chicken pot pie" for chicken+gravy+vegetables with a crust on top.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Querencia

                            And there's one more distinction, usually regional, that stands out....in some areas, chicken pie denotes a crusted chicken pie that contains only meat and gravy; calling it chicken pot pie indicates added veg. One thing I've noticed is that sometimes the Penn. Dutch version is spelled as one word, "potpie."

                          2. Grew up in southwestern PA, went to undergrad an hour northwest of Philly, and a pot pie, to me, has, at the very least, a top crust. Many have a bottom crust, as well. But a chicken pot pie in my lexicon is chicken, gravy and veggies baked in a container with a top crust and potentially a bottom (and/or side) crust.

                            1. A Chicken Pie has chicken, gravy, and potatoes with only a top crust. A Pot Pie has chicken, gravy, and veggies with a top and bottom crust.

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: paulj

                                  I agree, Bushwickgirl and I had the same discussion a few years ago.

                                  1. re: chefj

                                    The wiki article that Bushwickgirl referenced says "The distinction between a pot pie and other types of savoury pie is specific to the United States of America and parts of Canada. In the United Kingdom a pot pie would simply be called a pie, the word having a much broader application in British English."

                                    That is consistent with the ngram plot that I cited above. 'pot pie' is much rarer in the UK than the USA.

                                    My guess is that once Swanson started to make their frozen pot pies (in 1950) regional distinctions between 'chicken pie' and 'chicken pot pie' were doomed to be lost. I for one, only knew of one type of chicken pie, this frozen individual serving. I still have a burn scar to prove it. While I've made a few top crust pies, I don't think I've ever had a full crust home made chicken (pot) pie.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      I think that once the PA Dutch Pot pie was established the confusion began. Why the name Chicken Pie fell out of favor for the (I.M.O.) misnamed Pot Pie is hard to understand.

                              1. The interesting thing about this is that both the PA Dutch and the traditional versions are half right about the name. The PA Dutch pot pie is made in a pot, but isn't a pie, whereas the traditional version is like a pie, but isn't made in a pot. I had never encountered the PA Dutch pot pie until I moved to central PA. I have to say that I prefer the "regular" type, which usually has just a top crust, but occasionally has a bottom crust, too.

                                1. A chicken pie is meat/veggie filling inside dough. Like a calzone, turnover, bridie, empanada, Cornish pasty, etc. they can be baked or fried. It is a hand held portable meal.

                                  A chicken pot pie is meat/veggie/gravy filling cooked in a container, pie dish, etc. It may have a bottom crust, and always a top crust. Eaten with a fork or spoon.

                                  1. I know this thread is old....
                                    A PA "pot pie" is a dish that got it's name from "bot boi" (there are variations of the spelling).
                                    It has nothing to do with having a crust. It is a variation of the word, that's all.
                                    Other people have taken a different dish, with a crust, and called it pot pie.

                                    1. http://www.chow.com/food-news/133786/...

                                      Lobster pot pie at Pearl Oyster Bars - in the picture it looks like a deep single serving ramekin with a top crust.

                                      1. This reminded me of an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I think the restaurant was in the eastern U.S. and it featured a chicken pie recipe. This was not the standard chicken pot pie, but more like a chicken pie with just chicken and gravy in a pie crust. If that is the case, I suppose I could get by without a recipe, however my memory is a bit fuzzy. Does anyone remember that particular episode and the name of the restaurant? (I did a google search but came up with all kinds of results other than exactly what I was looking for.)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: John E.

                                          It wasn't DDD, but I recall some east coast historic inn (Virginia?) that had individual pot pies topped with puff pastry. In fact what comes to mind, is a crust that wraps around the ramekin, forming an upside down bowl. I don't recall the filling, but something that is rich in the chicken and light on the vegetables sounds right.

                                        2. I'm a PA Dutch girl and the pot pie you describe is what I think pot pie to be too. To me it is the ultimate comfort food but it all comes down to the noodles being done right.