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Pot pies are a perfect way to use leftovers. More often than not, they call for pre-cooked meats and vegetables. Add some wonderful seasonings and some form of crust -- whether it be pastry, crumb, or even potato -- and you've got dinner!
The recipes I'm offering this month include a variety of meats, vegetables, and crusts. Feel free to experiment and mix and match different fillings with different crusts. One of the most encouraging aspects of making a pot pie is that there really are no rules!
The basic recipe for a pot pie calls for a combination of meat and vegetables (or mixed vegetables in a vegetarian version) to be placed in a pie plate or shallow casserole dish. Depending on your recipe, you may or may not have a crust beneath the filling. Then, a crust of some sort is placed over the filling. This crust serves two major purposes. First, it allows the filling to cook in a manner similar to what would happen if you covered it with a lid or foil. The crust acts as the pie's lid. Second, it adds an additional texture to your finished meal. Unlike a hearty stew, pot pies can offer you an additional crispy texture that is a welcome treat.
The recipes in this article include such tempting fillings as fresh fish, chicken, ham, beef, corn, beans, peas, carrots, and much more. Crusts range from the traditional pie pastry to bread crumbs to potatoes. So, despite having the basics in common, they aren't likely to cause any fears about monotony. All it takes is a little creativity.
While pot pies have been traditionally comfort food that often stars on chilly days, you needn't limit yourself with such traditions. Since they are a complete meal in themselves, you can pop one in the oven and have a simple meal any day of the week and any time of the year. I've even been known to serve a vegetable-based pot pie with iced tea on my porch in the middle of summer. With pot pies featuring last night's leftovers, the sky's the limit!
Now, here's our line-up of pot pies: