Convenient, Local, and So Good

We recently received a gracious review from Meghan at  http://traveleatlove.com/.  It’s our pleasure to post her blog review below:

Anytime I go away for the weekend and get back late on Sunday, my week ends up being a little more hectic. Suddenly there’s all of those weekend things that need to be done on top of long work days, and they just don’t always get done.

I’ve been doing my best cooking up meals with the ingredients we had in the house, but nothing has been very exciting. I had cheese and crackers for lunch yesterday and counted pickles as a vegetable on Tuesday. Yeah, it’s one of those weeks.

As a result, I was doubly, maybe triply delighted when I checked the mail on the way to my afternoon office and found a coupon for a free Willow Tree Poultry Farm chicken pie.

Willow Tree contacted me last week asking if I would be interested in trying a pie, and since I love chicken pot pie, I gladly accepted.

Willow Tree is based in Attleboro, MA and has been around for 60 years. Their products are prepared by hand, and as a local business, they are great in supporting the local community. It was fun to read up on the company’s story.

I literally thought about the chicken pie all day long. I could not wait to run to Shaw’s on my way home to pick one up and to have dinner made for us.

I popped the chicken pie in the oven and got back to work, eventually having to stop because the aromas of the baking crust and bubbling gravy were filling the house. We eagerly cut into the pie about 10 minutes before it was meant to be done, and it was piping hot.

Look at those chunks of chicken! They  and the veggies were integrated nicely throughout the pie and made it a filling, hearty meal. The gravy is homemade, and you can definitely taste the care and quality ingredients. It was rich and just salty enough, as gravy should be.

I was most looking forward to the crust, and it did not disappoint. Golden, flaky, and buttery, it made for the comfort food I was craving during the rainy, dreary weather.

My nana made an amazing chicken pot pie when I was younger, and there was definitely a resemblance. This is the stuff of childhood memories and modern day meals all at once.

With zero trans fats and lots of homemade flavor, Willow Tree’s chicken pies are a great option for dinner on a busy weeknight. The 26 ounce pie said that it serves three, but we paired ours with a quick kale salad and got four servings out of the pie, enough for lunch the next day, which made me very happy.

Thank you to Willow Tree for sending me the coupon and allowing me to experience the chicken pie. I will definitely be trying the other varieties on busy work days to come.

Do you have any favorite convenience foods?

Who Do We Have to Thank for Chicken Pie?

By Wally Cekala

As the sandwich celebrates its 250th birthday this year, you may have been hearing trivia about its origin. Legend has it that the Earl of Sandwich, an avid card player, wanted an easy way to have something to eat without having to put his cards down. He asked for a piece of beef between two pieces of bread, and the “sandwich” was born. According to our research, it was a similar desire to eat a filling lunch easily which may have led to the origin of the chicken pot pie that we know today. 

Source: Wikipedia

The Cornish Pasty – Parent to the Pot Pie?

One of the earliest and most popular versions of a chicken pie hails from Cornwall in Great Britain. To this day it is referred to as a Cornish “pasty,” and appears more similar to an Italian calzone, encased in a thick, closed crust. Unlike a calzone or more modern variations on the pasty, it’s filled with savory meat, vegetables and spices but no sauce or gravy as that would make it too messy to eat by hand.  Pasties were a very popular lunch with Cornish miners, because they stay warm for a long time in a lunch pail and are easy to reheat by placing on a shovel and holding over a flame. Pasties also require no cutlery to eat, and could be held by their thick crusts by miners with dirty hands who would discard the crust after eating the rest. Today, pasties are Cornwall’s national dish and account for 6% of the food economy.

While the ingredients of any savory meat pie have been available for centuries in various countries, there are references in cookbooks from France dating back to the 1300s. Pasties are also referred to in correspondence related to high ranking officials, the clergy, and royalty of the 1200s. It may not have been until the 17th and 18th centuries, however, that pasties became common fare among the working class. With such an important place in Cornish lore and as a “national dish” of Cornwall, the neighboring county of Devon sometimes competes for a role in pasty history.

Cornish Miners Take the Recipe on the Road

As tin mining was on the decline in Cornwall, the miners traveled for work to other parts of the world in the 1800s, and brought their hearty lunch recipe with them. They settled in areas such as Australia, Mexico, the mid-western United States, and Pennsylvania. While these areas are still eating the pasty in a more authentic form, some regions have done away with the more utilitarian features, like the thick crust and lack of sauce.

 Modern “Pot” Pies 

The original savory pie makers of Europe would use a pot, and include a top and bottom crust to help the pie keep its shape. Some American variations over the years have done away with the bottom crust as it was no longer deemed necessary to eat this dish “on the fly” without cutlery. A more casserole-like dish which features a generous filling, including gravy, has become more popular. Also, the “pot” pie is usually associated with vegetables in addition to chicken meat.

While the recipe and “use” may have changed over the years, chicken pies are still seen as a wholesome, stick-to-your ribs meal for the end of a long work day. Also, as our fans know, similar to Cornish pasties, Willow Tree chicken pies are one of the few main courses that will still be warm when you go back for seconds!


Sources: Rick Steve’s Europe, Wikipedia