In the longer nights of autumn, there are few things more comforting than curling up with a warm blanket, a good book and a cup of tea. And the perfect prelude to a cozy night in? A dinner that practically makes itself, preferably wafting delicious aromas through the house as it does. Casseroles, slow-cooker meals, stews and chilies all have their well-earned seat in the fall dinner rotation, but don't neglect that old standby — potpies.
See also: Cobblers, crumbles and crisps
First, you'll need to choose the crust. A standard butter pastry like this Pie Crust by Tina Davis will serve well, and makes enough for two pies — so plan a sweet one for dessert while you're at it. A Flaky Pastry by Jean Anderson offers variations for the food processor or with cheddar cheese. Elinor Klivans' Extremely Flaky Sour Cream Crust is flavored perfectly for savory potpies, while her Surefire Cream Cheese Crust recipe turns out a uniquely soft dough.
In Elizabethan times, elaborately decorated potpies existed at the height of culinary style. Then in the 1960s, they were reinvented as a frozen convenience food, usually in single servings, that just can't compare to the homemade version.
Give potpies a chance to rise above the familiarly retro mixture of standard chicken and vegetables in these eclectic recipes, all good enough for company but easy as pie to make. Try them with a side of mixed salad or cooked greens like kale or chard for a truly satisfying autumn meal.
Jalapeno Pie by Christopher Idone: A cornmeal crust and a hearty helping of jalapenos gives this potpie a Southwestern flair.
Chicken Pie by Marion Cunningham: This classic chicken potpie can be assembled quickly, as all of the components can be made in advance.
Spinach Cheese Pie by Fran McCullough: With the ingredients in traditional Greek spanakopita, this quick and easy dinner is a crowd-pleaser.
Veggie Potpie by Nava Atlas: With just 301 calories per serving and an easy vegan alteration, this potpie can be made with a prepared whole-grain crust for extra ease.
Woodsy Mushroom Potpie by Amy Farges: Use your favorite mushrooms for this dish — hedgehog, black trumpet and chanterelle all work well.
Chicken Curry Pie by Elinor Klivans: A twist on the standard chicken potpie includes Indian spices like cumin, coriander, curry powder and ginger. The resulting dish is as colorful as the leaves falling outside!
Steak and Ale Pie by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner: In this recipe, the beer tenderizes the meat and makes a gravy to serve alongside.
Golden Mixed-Greens Pies by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford: This recipe makes two tender-crusted pies with different fillings: one a combination of greens and onions, one a creamy sweet potato filling.
Vegetable Pie With Sweet Potato Topping by Pat Crocker: The natural sugar from roasted vegetables and the topping give this main course a scrumptious sweetness.
Shepherd's Pie by Maxine Effenson Chuck and Beth Gurney: This vegan version of the classic is delicious straight out of the oven or as leftovers the next day.
You might also like: Low-cost braises.>>