While many fast food chains are stocking up on their fish and seafood selections to capitalize on the Friday Lent observations of their non-vegetarian Christian markets, KFC is making sure its meaty chicken plates, bowls and buckets are observed by the rest of its customer base. Sure, the Colonel has cranked out a few more KFC Fish Snackers than usual, but its bigger, nationwide marketing push is for the Chunky Chicken Pot Pie (which is usually only regionally available).
KFC's TV spot is a throwback to the 70s, and deems the Chunky Chicken Pot Pie a "classic." That's a bold marketing word for a place more classically known for finger lickin' fried chicken with 11 secret herbs and spices. But here's how it rates:
The Claims: The individually-sized Chunky Chicken Pot Pie (790 calories) is a pot pie baked in an aluminum tin, loaded with pieces of chicken, green peas, carrots and potatoes stewed in a savory creamy gravy. It's topped with a flaky crust and baked ahead of time so that it's readily available in the oven when you order it. Price: $3.99 for a limited time at participating locations.
The Verdict: A. When you try to define a "classic" chicken pot pie, you have chicken, peas, carrots, potatoes and gravy baked under a flaky crust. Semantically, KFC does live up to its "classic" claim -- but the pie also delivers a nice blend of tastes and textures that could have gone in a mediocre direction, if not for allowing the individual ingredients to maintain their flavors. The green peas retain their unique sweetness, as do the sliced carrots. The chicken, which comes in pulled shreds rather than chopped into cubes, is tender and salty. The cubed potatoes are soft and firm, but not undercooked. All of these ingredients are stewed and baked in a savory creamy sauce that could have easily overpowered all the individual tastes with too much salt, but it doesn't. (However, don't let the lightly-salted taste fool you though; the Chunky Chicken Pot Pie boasts 1970 mg of sodium.) The result is a harmonious blend of salty, savory and sweet.
To top it off (quite literally), is the crust, which extends beyond the aluminum tin at about 6 1/2-inches in diameter. It is nice and flaky as it should be, using the dough from what I can only deduce is the same they use for their biscuits -- not that that's a bad thing, since they're packed with buttery goodness when they're not sitting out for too long. Crumbled into the pot pie filling, the crust only adds another delicious layer of texture and flavor, making the KFC Chunky Chicken Pot Pie truly "classic." Sure it's a guilty pleasure with all the butter, cream, chicken and crust, but when you add up the calories of a two-piece original recipe dinner with two sides and compare, you'll see the caloric intake is about the same.
I understand that KFC is a fast food joint and it's not like they have sous-chefs chopping fresh vegetables for these things. Most likely, it's all done with factory machines, assembled, and sent to a franchise location to merely be heated. But for $3.99, it's quite a value for something on par with a similar chicken pot pie served at a fancier sit down restaurant. The best part is, you eat it with a spork, thus keeping your fingers clean --without any need of any lickin'.
- Erik R. Trinidad