100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No 72, Chicken Pot Pie at Kenny & Ziggy's
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape. It's a list to drool over.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg It's officially pot pie season at Kenny & Ziggy's. Hurry now before it's gone!
A few weeks ago I got a press release heralding the return of Kenny and Ziggy's New York Delicatessen's chicken pot pie to the menu. Having been in Houston for less than a year, I was unaware that A. Such a thing existed at Kenny & Ziggy's, and B. It was ever gone in the first place.
I recall thinking that chicken pot pie sounds good and all, but I didn't see what the hype was about until I stopped by recently to find out.
It's not pot pie weather quite yet, but I don't even care. Get it to-go, turn the thermostat way down, pile on some sweaters, and feast, because this is the best cold-weather comfort food I've had in ages.
Pot pie is, of course, a food with varying constructions. My Quaker grandmother makes chicken pot pie in a sort of stew with dumplings. Marie Callender's makes frozen pot pies (that, honestly, aren't the worst things in the world for satisfying a craving) with a pie crust on the top and bottom and chicken and vegetables baked into the middle.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Check out all that chicken and veggie goodness under the puff pastry.
Kenny & Ziggy's does it by stewing a hearty mixture of lean cubed chicken, celery, onions and carrots in a thick, meaty broth, then topping the whole thing with a buttery, flaky puff pastry hat. It comes to the table steaming hot, and I burned my tongue on more than one occasion trying desperately to eat it before it was cool enough. One bite, and I had to have more and more until my entire body was filled with the satisfying warmth that can come only from a perfect stew.
This particular pot pie is above and beyond for a number of reasons. It's not too salty, as many pot pies and stews can be, nor is it too glutinous from flour added to the broth to thicken it. The meat is tender and flavorful. The vegetables haven't turned to mush from overcooking. The puff pastry on top provides an ideal crispy counterpoint to the soft, soothing stew. Also, it's alarmingly puffy. Feat of pot pie engineering puffy.
So I get it now. I get why the return of the pie (good movie title?) is such an exciting event. And I'm going to eat as much as I possibly can of this wonderfully robust and calming pot pie before it disappears again in the spring.
The list so far:
No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme
No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia
No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro
No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra
No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen
No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub
No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood
No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus
No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro
No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar
No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum
No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao
No. 86: Ham, Egg & Cheese Crepe at Melange Creperie
No. 85: Pork Tamales at Irma's
No. 84: Greek Burger at Hubcap Grill
No. 83: Lobster Roll at Maine-ly Sandwiches
No. 82: Grilled Ahi Tuna at St. John's Fire
No. 81: Catfish and Grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 80: The Marie Laveau Sandwich at Sandy Witch
No. 79: Carnissima Pizza at Coppa Osteria
No. 78: Mortadella Sandwich at 13 Celsius
No. 77: Lamb Lollipops at Américas
No. 76: The Heights Burger at Gratifi
No. 75: 'Date With a Pig' at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
No. 74: Taco al Pastor at Taco Keto
No. 73: Chili Cheese Mac from Jus' Mac