Sixty years of Harrow's chicken pot pie. Why?
On Saturday, we got a coupon in the mail for $2 off an order. As it was getting toward lunchtime, and they promised takeout pie, we decided to head over.
The store is on the intersection of Rtes 16 and 38 in Medford, next to a Dunkies and across the street from a Dunkies. It's a small space, mostly occupied by coolers filled with pies of different sizes. We opted for two individual pies with vegetables (you can also get them without).
Now maybe I'm crazy, but to me, "takeout" means "to eat immediately." That's the point; that's what distinguishes a takeout pie from a frozen pie, which is evidently meant for consumption at a later date.
However, it turns out that if you actually want a hot pie, you have to call in your order a half-hour ahead of time, which is how long it takes to heat one up.
(Note to Harrow's: there are now clever machines called "micro-waves." You might could look into them.)
So much for our plan of grabbing a quick pie for lunch. As we were already hungry, we ate something more immediate and postponed the pies until dinner.
And so, that evening, we sat down to chicken pot pie.
The first thing we noticed was the pastry: it was incredibly short and flaky and a little sweet. And about as thick as a postcard.
The second thing we noticed was the sauce: pale, thick, bland, glutinous. I'll just come out and say it: wallpaper paste.
There were several generous chunks of chicken:
And, as promised, vegetables: uniformly diced carrot and cubes of al dente potato.
It's quite possible that Harrow's is the epitome of the Boston chicken pot pie; that its success lies in an understanding of the preferences of its customer base.
(That it was voted Best in New England by the Phantom Gourmet is a clue in itself.)
But to me, chicken pot pie shouldn't be nondescript; it should be a celebration. It should begin with a mirepoix; there should be pearl onions and peas; the roux should be perfumed with rosemary and thyme.