Vegetarian potpie

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The Vegetarian Dinner That'll Win Over Any Skeptic
Chef April Bloomfield, whose new cookbook A Girl and Her Greens is quite a departure from her earlier, meat-centric books, loves savory pies as much as any pub-goer. Yet she admits to feeling "a bit sluggish" after eating one. Enter this just-a-touch-lighter mushroom version, which calls for sturdy portobellos (they add bulk) and wild mushrooms (for texture), plus a splash of cream for richness. There's Swiss chard, too; its vibrant taste brightens the entire dish.

Get the recipe: Mushroom Pies with Swiss Chard
Beef Shiraz Pie

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The French Country Pie
Julia Child may never have paired boeuf bourguignon with pastry, but she did supposedly advise that, "In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Like her classic beef dish, this one, from Pamela Clark's Pocket Pies, starts with beef chuck steak that you brown in a frying pan. Next, you add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, tomatoes and fresh thyme, and cook everything in red wine and beef stock. The sour-cream pastry topper is lovely, thanks to its light texture but substantial flavor.

Get the recipe: Beef Shiraz Pies
Pork Sausage and Apple Pie

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An Easy Dish for Pie Newbies
Here's a wonderful beginner's potpie; even if you've never made any version of the dish, we're confident you can handle this. Clark's from-scratch crust comes together with just four ingredients (one of which is ice water). And the filling gets mega-flavor from sausage, which is already seasoned. Thinly sliced fennel and grated apple also pull their weight, adding a subtly sweet note.

Get the recipe: Pork Sausage and Apple Pie
Beef and Caramelized Onion Pies

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The Soup Lover's Pie
If you're a fan of the deep, savory taste of French onion soup, you'll fall in love with these individual pies from Clark, which combine red onions that you've caramelized in sugar and a cup of beer with mushrooms, ground beef and a bit of tomato paste (for body). The topping is puff pastry, and you can tease what's inside by decorating the top of each pie with a few onion slices.

Get the recipe: Beef and Caramelized Onion Pies
Fish Chowder Pies

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The East Coast Potpie
This hearty dish reminds us of a thick, New England-style chowder, with puff pastry standing in for the oyster crackers. It's got the requisite bacon and potatoes, but is even easier to make than many of those traditional soups since you don't have to bother with shelling clams and can instead use firm, white-fish fillets, such as pollock, catfish, grouper, haddock, cod, halibut and/or striped bass.

Get the recipe: Fish Chowder Pies
Vegetable-Barley Potpies

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The Pie with an Under-the-Radar Ingredient
Cooked pearl barley is tender, chewy and way more versatile than it gets credit for being (our love of beef-barley soup notwithstanding). In this meatless pie, the grain is a perfect match for onion, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and white beans. Although the overall effect is much lighter than with your average potpie, it's still plenty filling.

Get the recipe: Vegetable-Barley Potpies
World's Greatest Chicken Pot Pie

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The Standard That Doesn't Need a Thing
Straightforward and wonderfully homey, this chicken potpie recipe is a classic that you'll keep coming back to. It starts with a thick and bubbly base made with shredded, roasted chicken; chopped red bell pepper; shallots; milk and cream. In goes some dry white wine, peas, carrots and potatoes; then you cover the mixture with puff pastry and bake. Simple and satisfying, this one never disappoints.

Get the recipe: World's Greatest Chicken Pot Pie