First baked in Great Britain centuries ago, pot pies have close cousins in many world cuisines.
Pot pies can be found for mere shillings in grocery freezers. On a chilly winter evening, they taste all right. But for the height of homemade goodness, look to local chefs’ concoctions.
The pies have it
Most Irish- and British-themed pubs have a meat pie on the menu.
The time-honored saloon food goes well with a stout brew at McNellie’s Ale House, 121 E. Main in Norman. The Landlord’s Cottage Pie ($10.99) is a ground-beef stew with onion, carrots and peas and topped with two big scoops of mashed potato. Because we’re Americans, there’s also cheese on top.
McNellie’s has scads of beers to choose from and Newcastle Brown Ale ($4.50) is a smashing complement to its beef pie.
Baker Street Pub and Grill, 2701 W. Memorial, serves a more classic pot pie with both chicken and beef versions.
“We sell a lot of them,” said eatery publicist Haley Dawson. “They are a traditional winter dish that’s nice and hearty, but we have them on the menu year-round. The warm, gooey center with a flaky crust is delicious, and it really warms you up.”
Paseo Grill, 2909 Paseo, serves a contender for the best chicken pot pie in town, but it’s only on the lunch menu. Even then, only so many are prepared fresh daily; when they’re gone, you’ll have to order something else.
Presented in a miniature cast-iron skillet, this pie has a top and bottom crust just like Aunt Mabel’s. Inside is a creamy mélange of peas, potato, onion and meat.
The pie appears small, but the crust is so delectably rich and layered that finishing will be a challenge.
Sean Cummings’ Irish Pub, 7523 N. May, is so Irish that the menu has a glossary for words like “colcannon” (mashed potatoes with cabbage, bacon and leeks) and “boxty” (potato pancake).
Cummings’ shepherd’s pie can be ordered with beef ($9.99) or in a seafood version with a cream sauce instead of gravy ($13.95).
Fried meat pies, traditionally called pasties, are also available ($10.99 for two). This dish originated in the United Kingdom’s Cornwall County and became popular in America’s upper Midwest. Cummings will bring your pies around with a pint of Guinness and a shot of Irish whiskey on the side.
Pot of ages
If you’re craving a gourmet version of traditional Irish fare, Saints, 1715 N.W. 16th, has a version that just might sate your hunger.
The bare-brick joint in the trendy Plaza District serves up a lamb pie ($6), ground meat stuffed in shortcrust with bacon, cabbage and carrot. There’s a veggie ($6) option, as well, with roasted sweet potato, cabbage and onion.
Both these pies are on the “small plate” menu, so they resemble Irish tapas rather than a proper meal.
The French don’t miss out on anything food-related. Enjoy the fusion of French and Vietnamese at Super Cao Nguyen Market’s deli, 2668 N. Military. Nguyen’s baked treats are called paté chaud ($1.50). The spicy, ground-pork-stuffed pastry pies are about the size and shape of a hockey puck and make a great snack.