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Chicken pot pie reviews

We tried 4 frozen chicken pot pies and the winner could have fooled us for homemade

  • Chicken pot pie is a classic, but it can be hard to make from scratch.
  • We decided to try some grocery store, frozen pot pies.
  • Boston Market ended up being our favorite, but all of them were solid contenders.

Chicken pot pie is a quintessential comfort food. Made up of rich gravy, crunchy veggies, and lots of chicken inside of a flaky crust, it’s the perfect thing to warm you up in the colder months, but it can also be time-consuming to make from scratch, which is why there are so many options on the frozen pot pie market.

As a part of INSIDER’s ongoing taste test series, we chose four frozen chicken pot pies to find out which one came closest to the homemade favorite. Previously, we’ve tried boxed mac and cheese and microwave popcorn.

The four pot pies we chose were:

Boston Market Chicken Pot Pie

Stouffer’s Chicken Pot Pie

Banquet Chicken Pot Pie

Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie

They were all purchased at the same grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. I enlisted my boyfriend to help, who has never had a pot pie before in his life. We decided to test them based on chicken quality, gravy quality, crust quality, and how close to homemade they tasted. Because so many listed the microwave as the default cooking method, we decided to microwave them all, just to be fair.

Boston Market’s chicken pot pie was by far the largest

This was the most expensive. Kristin Salaky

Boston Market’s chicken pot pie was the only one portioned out to be two servings, though it wasn’t marketed that way. It hulked in comparison to the others and took a whopping 11 minutes to cook in the microwave. It was also the most expensive at $4.19.

It needed to be cooked inside the box, but once it got going, the whole kitchen started to smell like homemade pot pie. It came out piping hot and cooked perfectly after letting it sit for five minutes, per the cooking instructions.

This tasted homemade. Kristin Salaky

We were initially hesitant about cooking it in the microwave, and it didn’t come out looking the most glamorous, but once we tasted it, all those fears went away. The crust was flaky and crispy and the chicken tasted high quality. The gravy was thick and the veggies were fresh. It definitely tasted like it could have been homemade.

Stouffer’s chicken pot pie featured a crisper panel at the top of its tray

The crust was amazing. Kristin Salaky

We had high hopes for this next pie as it featured a metallic crisper panel at the top of its box. It was a good size and the second most expensive at $3.99.

Despite having the crisper panel, it was still cold in the middle after we pulled it out following the six-and-a-half minute cooking and two-minute standing time directions. Once it was popped in for another two minutes, it was ready to go and it was worth the wait.

The inside. Kristin Salaky

It came out looking the best by far and the crust was also by far the best; you could literally taste the butter they tucked into the dough.

The chicken was great, but it did feature fewer veggies than some of the other pies, in our opinion. The gravy was a bit runnier than the Boston Market gravy and we also did not find it super flavorful, although it was pretty welcome with the richness of the crust.

The Banquet pot pie was the cheapest and had the shortest cooking time

Banquet’s pot pie came in the smallest box and had an equally small price at just $1.19; definitely the best value. It needed to be cooked for about five minutes and to sit for three, and unlike the others, was cooked on a plate with a slit cut on top.

This one had a special instruction. Kristin Salaky

It was also cold in the middle when it came out, so for the sake of uniformity, we popped it in for two more minutes. By then, the gravy was flowing and it was time to try it.

We had a hard time finding the chicken in the pie and when we did, noticed it tasted a bit different than the others. That’s because it was made with dark meat chicken, unlike the others that all noted on their boxes they were made with white meat. So if you like dark meat, this is the pie for you.

The crust was the best part. Kristin Salaky

The crust was good and the gravy was also on the thin side. This one also seemed to have fewer veggies in it.

Marie Callender’s pot pie was microwaved with a special tray

You peeled the top off. Kristin Salaky

To make the Marie Callender’s pie, you had to peel off the top and put the pot pie in the middle while you microwaved it. It was a good size and a great price at $2.99. It needed to be cooked for six-and-a-half minutes and sit for five and by the time that was through, it came out perfectly cooked.

As my boyfriend noted, there’s a lot this pie is doing right. It was a solid mix all around with a flakey crust, very crispy veggies, and an easy cooking process.

This was solid all around. Kristin Salaky

It does taste high quality and almost homemade, though we found the gravy to be a bit lacking and thin. The chicken was solid, but not our favorite.

Overall we had to give it to Boston Market, though Marie Callender’s is a solid option, too

When it came down to it, Boston Market took the win. It was big enough to be shared, though one of us could have surely finished it ourselves. If we didn’t know better, this one could have fooled us for homemade and the balance of the gravy, chicken, and crust couldn’t be beat.

Banquet (top left), Stouffer’s (top right), Boston Market (bottom left), and Marie Callender’s (bottom right). Kristin Salaky

Marie Callender’s was a very close contender as well and would be a great option for a single person or someone short on time.

Best Chicken Pot Pie on Earth! – Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery

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Clockwise from top left: Stouffer’s, Boston Market, Marie Callender’s, Swanson

For years I’ve been rejecting the notion of comfort food on the reasonable but insufficient grounds that I fear nostalgia and I think the term’s too cutesy. Plus a restaurant-owning friend once told me he makes a lot of boat payments courtesy of comfort- and “value”-minded patrons who opt for the $14 macaroni and cheese instead of the $21 roast chicken. Therefore, it has always made me queasy for personal, lexicographic, and financial reasons to consider the comforting powers of certain foods.

But I’m tired of talking myself in circles to avoid what is, after all, a perfectly apt label, and admitting as much finally frees me up to discuss my love of meat pies in general and frozen chicken pot pies in particular.

Most of the five minutes a year I allow for reflection on my childhood are spent rhapsodizing about Willow Tree Farm chicken pies. The chicken was whitish and the gravy was greenish and the vegetables were nonexistent and the face-stuffing was rapturous, and when I started planning this story I assumed it would be more of a coronation of Willow Tree than an actual fair fight among leading national brands.

But it turns out that my beloved Willow Tree isn’t a leading national brand: It’s a Massachusetts phenomenon that is unevenly exported to the rest of the country. Sorry about that, guys.

That leaves us to consider chicken pot pies from Boston Market, Stouffer’s, Marie Callender’s, and Swanson.

Stouffer’s (10 ounces, one 670-calorie serving, $2.89)

This Canadian import boasts a thin, crisp crust that is devoid of gumminess, even on the underside. The thick, creamy gravy has a pleasing texture but lacks any real flavo(u)r beyond a faint acidity. The chicken role is played by cubes of white meat that could have used more bird taste but had no major flaws. The vegetables were all very good and flavorful, even the stray bits of onion. The peas and carrot shards were surprisingly firm, with the latter being borderline crunchy.

This is a good pie that may not be to everyone’s liking, as it’s quite unorthodox to rely on the crust and the vegetables to do so much heavy lifting while the chicken and gravy tag harmlessly along for the ride.

Boston Market (16 ounces, two 570-calorie servings, $2)

This one had the best crust by far, which is quite an achievement given how good the Stouffer’s shell was. The Boston Market crust was thick, flaky, and buttery, making it the only lid with a secondary flavor component beyond basic crackeriness. The moist, tender chicken was great; I would happily make a sandwich out of it. The peas were so firm I could hear myself chewing them, which partially atoned for their lack of flavor. The carrot rounds were better, though they tasted sweetened. Boston Market also went the extra inch by throwing in decent corn d green beans.

Only a tragic gravy situation kept this pie out of the top spot. The curiously thin, broken, and oily chicken-liquid didn’t taste as bad as it looked, but very few things taste as bad as this gravy looked.

Marie Callender’s (10 ounces, one 630-calorie serving, $2)

Marie brought very good chicken to the party. It was peppery, almost suspiciously so, as if it had been injected with a flavoring solution to elevate it above its natural blandness, but I see no reason to sweat that kind of detail in a frozen pot pie: The flavor was good, regardless of how it got there.

The carrots were firm and flavorful, though too fibrous. I don’t really want to be that engaged in the eating of my pot pie vegetables. The peas had real snap and flavor to them. The crust was a bit on the dense and gummy side, but it wasn’t bad enough to be a problem. Which brings us to the thick, creamy gravy, which was very controversial among my two-person tasting panel.

It was by far the most flavorful of the bunch, with a deep black pepper presence and a just a bit too much salt, and I thought it was great. My copanelist thought it was goopy (debatable) and green (true enough) and gross to the point that it undermined all of the pie’s other good works.

Swanson (7 ounces, one 370-calorie serving, $0.89)

It cost 89 cents. The crust was thin, rubbery, and meaningless, the gravy was mostly salt and modified food starch, the super-salty chicken cubes felt like glue-together lunchmeat, the potatoes seemed reconstituted, and the peas were sour. Carrots were nice, though.

All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.

OVERALL FAVORITE
Stouffer’s White Meat Chicken Pot Pie
This potpie — by far the best of the 11 chicken pies we tried — has been a top seller since Stouffer’s debuted it in the late 1950s. The gravy is made with real cream, the crust is buttery and flaky and, as one tester pointed out, the large pieces of chicken “actually look and taste like chicken.” ($3.50 for a 16-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST BEEF
Swanson Beef Pot Pie
To paraphrase Stephen Baldwin’s famous movie line, chicken potpie is like pizza: Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Not so with beef potpie. This one stood out as the lone tasty beef pie we sampled: It has a beefy aroma, a sturdy crust, thick gravy and big chunks of meat. ($1 for a 7-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST SEAFOOD
Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant Lobster Pot Pie
“It’s a one-way trip to Cape Cod,” one panelist said. Actually, the pie hails from East Lyme, Connecticut. It’s packed with huge pieces of lobster, and the misshapen herb-flecked crust is homespun, leading one judge to say, “It looks like my kid made the crust.” The mail-order pie isn’t cheap — but then, real lobster never is. ($16 for a 12-ounce pie, flandersfish.com)

BEST VEGETARIAN
The Cleaver Co. Organic Mushroom Pot Pie
Creating a tasty meatless potpie is a tall order, but this New York-based catering company succeeds. The rich, earthy flavor comes from roasted shallots, farm-fresh vegetables and loads of shiitake and button mushrooms. One panelist fell for it before the first bite, saying it “smells delicious, like coq au vin.” ($40 for four 16-ounce pies, cleaverco.com)

BEST BITE FOR YOUR BUCK
Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie
Quality isn’t sacrificed in this affordable freezer-section classic — the crust is deliciously biscuity, the filling is thick (not soupy) and there are tons of chicken and veggies. One panelist gushed, “It’s Thanksgiving-dinner good.” ($3.50 for a 16.5-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST FOR FEEDING THE WHOLE FAMILY
Twin Hens Chicken Pot Pie
This Princeton, New Jersey, pie is the size of a birthday cake and just as tasty. One tester suggested serving it at a dinner party: “You could convince folks you did this yourself.” Packed with chunks of dark and white meat, the filling tastes like “thick cream of chicken soup.” ($32 for a 40-ounce pie, twinhens.com)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in November 2006.

flandersfish.com

cleaverco.com

twinhens.com

Food Review: We Eat Chicken Pot Pie for You–and Hunt for the Chicken

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

What is it about winter that we all think of chicken pot pie? Perhaps not all of us, but certainly this fan of these chicken-loaded, pea- and carrot-sprinkled, flaky crust mini pies. This is the season to pop one in the oven and let the wonderful aroma fill your kitchen with cozy and happy. And for those of us tolerating the bitter cold, there’s no more fulfilling way to ward off the January and February blahs.

But here’s the thing: Not all chicken pot pies are created equal. And if you believe this post from Delish.com, you may never eat one again. While their take is a bit harsh, I agree with them on point #8 – the frozen versions are a nightmare.

I might be a purist, but how can anyone sell a chicken pot pie that has no more than an ounce of chicken? Yes, one ounce. I actually pulled the pieces out of a Jewel brand fresh pot pie recently and weighed them. Buried in the gobs of gravy-flavored goop was a smattering of peas and a few carrot discs.

In fairness, Jewel is just fine for many things, but their version of a chicken pot pie should be called no-chicken pot pie.

This fiasco started me on my quest to find store-bought pot pies that actually contain chicken. My research took me to Plum Market, Mariano’s, Treasure Island and Whole Foods. After consecutive nights of testing, I discovered big and subtle differences among the contestants.

Before I reveal my results however, let’s look at the history of the chicken pot pie. Like other comfort foods such as meatloaf, chicken pot pie typically conjures up memories of cold nights warmed by family gatherings. Yet if you lived under the Roman empire you might not have this same memory, since live birds were often hidden under the crust only to fly out and surprise dinner guests. England in the 16th century saw a pot pie resurgence (even though the crusts were not eaten), and soon the concept crossed the Atlantic into the New World, bringing versions with chicken, beef, pork and veal.

My first Chicago chicken pot pie memory began in Marshall Field’s Walnut Room. Mrs. Hering’s 1890 recipe was delicious, and while I’ve not tried it recently, I suspect the recipe is much the same with a tweak here or there. For many years, my friend Judy and I would line up ramekins, roll out dough and create this classic recipe at home. It would be an all-afternoon affair, perfect for a cold snowy Sunday.

Try your hand at Mrs. Hering’s recipe, and see how this sales associate’s simple chicken pot pie recipe became the store’s most popular item for over a century.

And now the results of my chicken pot pie research:

Whole Foods: This version ($7.99) was wholly tasteless, despite the abundance of chicken and vegetables. Upon first bite I was rather excited, but then after a second and third bite, I realized the pie was bland. It needed salt and much more. The crust had an unusual sweetness to it and was neither flaky nor buttery. While generous with peas, potatoes, corn and chicken, it lacked essential flavor. If Whole Foods would add some seasonings and work on that crust, they just might have a front-runner.

Mariano’s: I wanted this entry to be the best since the price is great for an 18-ounce pie ($5.99). While I cannot declare it so, it was tasty, despite an odd texture. This, I believe, was due to the pie having been previously frozen. After being fully reheated, it was mushy. There were ample amounts of chicken, but the pieces were so small it was hard to distinguish them from the peas, carrots and celery. The crust, on the other hand, was excellent – buttery, slightly chewy and golden brown.

Plum Market: Like most stores, Plum Market sells both fresh ones made in their kitchens ($8.99) as well as pre-made frozen options.

As for their fresh version, which Plum Market describes as “all natural” – whoa!

At that hefty price it should not only taste good, but also look good. After a few bites, I couldn’t eat it any longer. It was exceptionally spicy (too much cayenne pepper, herbs and other spices), very mushy, and an unappetizing greenish color. And while I can appreciate the lengthy list of organic and natural ingredients and a decent amount of chicken, Plum Market’s attempt to deliver a chicken pot pie extraordinaire missed the mark.

And the winner is:

Treasure Island: Fully cooked and available in the deli case ($6.98), this chicken pot pie is the winner. It actually tasted like the chicken pot pies I remember, like Mrs. Hering’s. Reasonably priced, it’s very good, especially compared to the others. Chock full of chicken as well as a good dose of corn, peas, carrots and a few green beans, it’s a nice balance of stuff and gravy. Thankfully the gravy doesn’t overwhelm the vegetables and chicken. The crust, while slightly dense, was yummy when baked to a golden brown.

Photo credit: Two Peas and Their Pod

For those of us who like to play in the kitchen, this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod is an ideal way to utilize leftover roast turkey or chicken. Or you can start with a rotisserie chicken available at most grocery stores. I like this version as it includes fresh herbs like thyme and parsley as well as the predictable ingredients – peas and carrots. And it keeps carbs at a minimum by leaving out the potatoes that most pot pie recipes include.

Let us know where you go to enjoy your chicken pot pies. Lots of restaurants like Lady Gregory in Old Town or Café Selmarie in Lincoln Square feature them this time of year. Or if you have a favorite recipe, do tell. No matter whether you buy a pot pie, order one in a restaurant or make your own, take the edge off the winter freeze with this classic comfort food. Just be sure it has plenty of chicken.

Photos by Cynthia Kallile unless otherwise noted.

Categories: Food, Recipes

Fresh Market is THE BEST!! – The Fresh Market

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Banquet Chicken Pot Pie

Product Description

Flaky crust made from scratch.

Preparation Instructions

Keep frozen. Must be cooked thoroughly. For Food Safety and Quality: Keep frozen; do not thaw. Ovens and wattages vary. Adjust cooking times as needed. Product must be cooked thoroughly. Read and follow these cooking directions. Microwave Oven: Cook only one product at a time. 1. Place pot pie on microwave-safe plate; slit top crust. 2. Microwave on high (1100 watt oven or more: 4 to 5 minutes). Do not cook in microwave ovens below 1100 watts as pot pie may not cook thoroughly. Conventional oven preparation is recommended. 3. Let stand 3 minutes in microwave to complete cooking. Carefully remove as product will be hot. 4. Check that pot pie is cooked thoroughly. Internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots. Crust is golden brown and steam rises from filling. Conventional Oven: Do not prepare in toaster oven. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pot pie on cookie sheet, slit top crust. 2. Bake in oven 32 to 34 minutes. Carefully remove as product will be hot. 3. Let stand 5 minutes to complete cooking. 4. Check that pot pie is cooked thoroughly. Internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots. Crust is golden brown and steam rises from filling. Temperatures above 400 degrees F and/or failure to use a cookie sheet may cause damage to the tray, food and/or oven.

Ingredients Filling: Chicken Broth (Water, Chicken Flavor ), Cooked Chicken (Chicken, Mechanically Separated Chicken , Water, Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate), Carrots, Mechanically Separated Chicken (Mechanically Separated Chicken, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Natural Flavoring, Citric Acid), Potatoes (Potatoes, Calcium Chloride), Modified Corn Starch, Contains 2% or Less of: Peas, Chicken Fat, Wheat Flour, Salt, Soybean Oil, Flavor, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sugar, Dextrose, Paprika, Corn Oil, Polysorbate 80, Beta Carotene, Soy Lecithin, Crust: Wheat Flour, Lard Preserved with BHT, Water, Dextrose, Salt, Caramel Color.

Pot Pie Taste Fest 2016

I don’t quite recall when it happened. I don’t quite recall when the thought developed inside my brain. What I do remember is my lifelong love of pot pies.

Whenever it happened, I suppose is irrelevant. What’s important is the why…

My wife decided to head back to California to visit her family for some reason or another. With a week’s freedom, and no food in the house, I had to fend for myself. I drove to the grocery store and walked straight back to the frozen food section. At that point in my life, whenever it was, I didn’t actually feel comfortable cooking for one. Frozen food is, by far, the easiest food to prepare for a single person.

As I perused the frost bitten goods, scanning across a 20 pack of taquitos and Totinos pizza rolls, I found my target: a chicken pot pie.

I reached in, grabbed the Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie and set it gently into the cart. From there I kept on my merry little way, coming across a banquet chicken pot pie…

“Hmmm”, I thought, “which is better?”

I thought that same thought for the three other chicken pot pies I bought that day, and that is the genesis of…

THE POT PIE TASTE FEST!!!

This year, having completely forgotten which brand I thought was best, I decided to do an update of the original idea (plus the wife left for another week). So, let’s get into 2016!

How It Works

I went to the store and bought every single Chicken Pot Pie I could find. I only went for chicken. If there were any beef or turkey or sarsaparilla (not a real thing), I did not pick it up. Also, there was a Lean Cuisine one that had no crust. “NO”, I said, “NOT IN MY HOUSE.”

The pies were all judged based on a few criteria: flakiness of crust, taste, health meter, how it cooked, tag lines and anything else I thought of. Since it is, at it’s most basic, a subjective review of each brand, I did my best to stay consistent with my scoring. I ate one Chicken Pot Pie a night for 5 nights.

Now, without further adieu, let’s get into it

Day 1 – Boston Market

Tagline(s) “1 Lb of Food per 2 Servings”
Weight: 16 oz.
Calories: 450
Sodium: 680 mg
Time to Cook: 65-70 minutes
Foil the Edges? Yes!

Results:
I’d never had this brand, to be perfectly honest. I’d been to a Boston Market one time, not in Boston, mind you, but in downtown Burbank. I’m not entirely sure it’s something I enjoyed because it’s not something I’m entirely sure I remember.

When I grabbed this one out of the freezer I thought it might be a decent pie, but I was also shocked about the sodium content (spoiler: all of them have huge amounts of sodium).

It didn’t look all that great when it first came out of the box but I kept optimism alive.

After the 65 or so minutes it took to cook, it came out of the oven looking delicious.

I decided to start each pot pie similarly, crack open the crust and mix it into the sauce to give the full effect (and maintain a fragile objectivity). The first thing I noticed was the bounty of corn floating in there.

I have to tell you, I’m not a huge fan of LOOKING at corn. I like the taste of it, I like eating it, but there’s something about seeing corn in a food dish that looks nasty. Anyway, I took the first bite and it was really good. There was a lot of corn in that first and second and last bite. The crust had a nice flakiness to it, the sauce was great (and corn chowder-ish), and it had a good amount of chicken.

Drink of Choice: Golden Road 329 Lager – Days of Summer
Overall: 8/10

Day 2 – Stouffer’s

Tagline(s) “Product of Canada”; “Satisfying Servings”
Weight: 16 oz.
Calories: 570
Sodium: 810 mg
Time to Cook: 65-70 minutes
Foil the Edges? Yes!

Results:
My first thought of Stouffer’s is: “They have the BEST macaroni and cheese”. With that thought in mind, I thought for sure this would be one of the best. On the back of the box it even asks, “How can so much deliciousness be packed inside this flaky, golden crust?”

I mean, it was good, but the crust wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t super flaky and the dough was kind of doughy. In fact, it was more doughy than it was flaky. The crust had a tendency to stick to the roof of my mouth. Flaky crusts don’t stick to my mouth, dammit! Not here, not now, not EVER!

The taste was pretty good though. I was initially shocked at the higher sodium content than Day 1, but it didn’t taste more salty at all. In fact, other than doughy McDougherton, it was delicious.

Drink of Choice: 7-Up and Jim Beam
Overall: 7/10

Day 3 – Banquet!

Results:
This guy came out of the box looking pretty generic

It came out of the oven looking pretty generic

Overall, yeah, it was pretty generic. There weren’t a whole helluva lot of vegetables or chicken in it. The chicken that was in there felt like McNugget rejects. The McNuggets that the Quality Assurance guys were like, “this is too dark and too low quality for the high mark we’ve set for McDonalds… send them to Banquet.”

The crust wasn’t too flaky but it did have a nice taste to it. The same went for the sauce contained within. All in all though, it tasted as cheap as it cost.

Drink of Choice: 7-Up and Jim Beam
Overall: 6/10

Day 4 – Marie Callenders!

Tagline(s) “Golden Flaky Crust Made from Scratch”; “From My Kitchen to Yours Since 1948”; “#1 Selling Premium Pot Pie Brand”; “No Preservatives No Artificial Flavors: Marie’s Promise”
Weight: 16 oz.
Calories: 430
Sodium: 750 mg
Time to Cook: 63-65 minutes
Foil the Edges? YARP!?!

Results:
This is the pie that everyone I talked to ahead of time picked to win. If I’d held a poll before I conducted this taste fest, Marie Callender’s would certainly have taken the top spot.

Coming out of the box and out of the oven, there didn’t seem to be anything special about the pie.

Opening it up, I could see the goodness awaiting inside.

The crust was very flaky and tasted good as well. The sauce had an excellent flavor, albeit a little processed. There was a good amount of chicken, peas, carrots, and celery. There was no corn! I think what Marie Callender did was replace any hint of corn with more peas, because there were a ton of peas.

It makes sense that this is the traditional best pot pie, because it is really good. It’s usually the one I go for whenever I stop at the store, so I was happy to see it maintained it’s status in my heart… and my stomach.

Drink of Choice: Aloe Water with Vodka
Overall: 8/10

Day 5 – Blake’s!

Tagline(s) “Made with Garden Vegetables and Flaky Pastry Crust”; “Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics”; “Minimally Processed. No Artificial Ingredients”; “True Comfort. Easy as Pie”; Then an entire essay about why they’re so good.
Weight: 8 oz.
Calories: 370
Sodium: 470 mg
Time to Cook: 63-65 minutes
Foil the Edges? NARP!?!

Results:
This is the last entry! This entry is also a little bit special as it’s the “healthy” option of all five. The back of the box can tell you everything you need to know about just how healthy this option is supposed to be. But I’m not in this event for my health (I got a terrible cold shortly after this. Related? Not sure).

The crust, right out of the box looked like I imagine a pot pie would look if I tried to make it at home. Out of the oven, the crust looked like how I WISH it did if I made it at home.

The crust was super flaky and it was the best of all five pies by far; I ate all of it. The sauce wasn’t as thick as the other pies, but it was decent. I could tell there wasn’t as much sodium in it though (sigh, healthy stuff). There were plenty of vegetables and just the right amount of chicken.

If there is a primary critique of this pot pie, it’s that the crust only covers the top. All of the five, except this one, the crust covered the entire dish, inside and out. It’s not a terrible thing, because the crust was awesome, but it did limit my score on it, overall.

Drink of Choice: Bloody Mary with homemade Bacon Vodka
Overall: 7/10

THE WINNER!?!?!?!

I can tell you who didn’t win: Banquet. I suppose it’s a good pot pie if you have no money and you need to horde your sodium intake for the winter, but other than that, it’s a run of the mill pie. Blake’s is decent and is probably the best option for those health folks out there. I am not one of those health folks, though. Stouffer’s is a solid choice at third place, you can’t go wrong with them (though the mac and cheese is still the best…).

That leaves Marie Callender’s and Boston Market. Here’s where the decision becomes difficult.

Marie Callender’s is the traditional best, and I’ll concede that it remains that way. However, because I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, even with the rampant images of corn fluttering past my eyes, Boston Market takes the top prize.

To caveat for those folks who might not like corn that much… just go Marie Callender’s, you’ll like that the best still!

Epilogue

Thank you so much for reading this and taking this journey with me! What are your thoughts about the pot pie choices? Do you think I made a mistake? Is there anything else you think I should’ve added or checked for? Let us know below in the comments or on Twitter at @Apathusiast or on email, at [email protected]

  1. Make dough: Place flour and butter into freezer for 30 minutes before starting crust process. In a large food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form. With the machine running, add ice water into feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough just come together and is moist but not wet and sticky (test by squeezing some with your fingers).
  2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, form into 2 balls, and flatten into 2 discs (making sure there are no/minimal cracks). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cook chicken: Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a large baking dish with butter and grease one side of a large piece of parchment with butter. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper then place in baking dish. Place buttered side of parchment paper over chicken, so that chicken is completely covered. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Let reset 10 minutes before cutting into cubes.
  4. Meanwhile, start filling: In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and carrots and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then stir in flour and cook until the flour mixture is golden and beginning to bubble. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, cubed chicken, peas, parsley and thyme. Season mixture with salt and pepper.
  5. Assemble pie: On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick. Place in a shallow pie dish then add filling. Roll out second disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick and place on top of filling. Trim and crimp edges, then use a paring knife to create slits on top. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
  6. Reduce heat to 375° and bake pie until crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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