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Early last year we discovered Blake's All Natural Foods, beginning with their Shepherd's Pie and their Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie. The Shepherd's Pie was only so-so, but the Chicken Pot Pie, with its cornmeal crust, was a hit. A few weeks later we followed up with two of their pasta varieties, which were also a split decision: thumbs up for the Farmhouse Mac and Cheese; thumbs down for the Mac & Cheese with Chicken. After that we didn't see any additional varieties available in our local Whole Foods for quite a while, until this past weekend we noticed the non-gluten-free chicken pot pie varieties that we'll test today.
Unlike the pasta dishes, these must be cooked in a conventional oven, so into the 400F oven they went for 40 minutes. These look like classic pot pies, bubbling up over the edges and crisping the edge of the crust on top. The first the panel tasted was the White Meat Chicken Pie. At first we wondered what the difference was between this one and the Chicken Pot Pie, but the description on the back makes it clear: it includes "an extra helping of hand-pulled white meat chicken (hold the veggies)." Perhaps that's why there's more salt in this one (650 milligrams of salt with 290 calories and 3 grams of fiber) than in the Chicken Pot Pie?
It would appear so. After breaking through the crust (which is indeed a very good crust: buttery in flavor, not overly thick, and moderately flaky), we discovered that you can indeed taste every single milligram of sodium in this dish. There's certainly plenty of chicken here, not too dry and in a nice thick sauce, but we just can't recommend something this salty when there's absolutely no reason for it.
And we know this because the Chicken Pot Pie, by contrast, has only 470 milligrams of sodium (with 340 calories and 5 grams of fiber). Sure, there's 3 fewer grams of protein in this one than the plain Chicken Pie, but you don't miss the additional chicken when what's in this one is so good. Skin-on potato chunks are added to the same chicken as in the Chicken Pie, along with peas and diced carrots that are cooked enough to be softened but not so well cooked that they don't add a welcome bit of texture to the same thick, savory sauce. Topped with same excellent crust, this is light years better tasting and better for you. Serve this to your kids with a side salad and everybody wins.