Rediscovering Pot Pie

This homey classic is the real thing

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By David Hammond

I guess I’m particular about pot pies. I remember enjoying Swanson’s versions as a kid. These humble pastries carry a lot of emotional resonance for me, though it’s tough going back to the gloppy, high-fat versions of my youth.

Still, it infuriates me when purveyors of corporate chow foist upon me what is essentially a casserole topped with a pastry shell.

That is not a pie.

A pie has a shell on the top and on the bottom and all around the sides.

A pie consists of tasty stuff inside pastry.

A pie has shape: a pie shape. It is not a mess of stuff with a tiny shell mounted on top, which is exactly what you’ll get at most restaurants if you order a “pot pie.”

Take heart. There is another way.

Small Comfort is an artisanal pot pie maker in Chicago who handcrafts pies and delivers to Oak Park.

With pot pies, the pastry may make all the difference. Though many of the fake pot pies have decent enough filling, the pie portion of this Small Comfort offering was what made it such a fine lunch. Flaky, tender and nostalgically (and I'm guessing unavoidably) soggy with deliciousness on the bottom, this is a very good pot pie.

Not cheap ($8/pie), but worth it, if you, like me, love the idea of a savory pie.

More here about Small Comfort here:

Do you have a favorite food from your early years that still enjoy now and again. Tell us about it.

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David Hammond from  

Posted: March 7th, 2011 10:02 PM

Had chicken pot pie from Small Comfort for dinner tonight. Excellent. Well-seasoned, lots of chicken...and peas.

Melissa from Parent Blog  

Posted: March 7th, 2011 12:16 PM

For special occasions, my mom would make Chicken a la King, however, I haven't made this dish in years.

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