Porkpie waa0fj

Yeah, it's $29, but it will feed you all winter.

Image: Alice Levitt

It's that precious Houston commodity, far rarer to us than Texas tea: a cool day. Dare we say you may have even worn a jacket on your drive to work? Today's cold snap is just that—it will be back in the 80s by Monday—but we can't think of a better way to take advantage of a break from the sauna that we call weather than a pot pie.

We're not great proponents of dessert pies, almost always less satisfying than cake, bread pudding, or any other number of patisseries. But meat in creamy sauce tucked under a blanket of buttery dough? That gets our hearts racing. We are staunch apologists for the KFC chicken pot pie, with its light, slightly sweet pastry and shockingly reliable ratio of chunky white meat chicken to carrots, peas and potatoes. There, we said it. It's a classic.

But what's so inspiring about the Black Hill Pork Pie at Ritual is that it's not, it only masquerades as one. Every bit of comfort you feel scooping a piece of meat from beneath the crust of Grandma's pot pie is present in chef Crash Hethcox's version, no matter how different it is from her Betty Crocker recipe. First of all, Grandma probably wouldn't think it was cute to stick a pork femur in the middle of her pie like a birthday candle from a poorly conceived gag on The Flintstones. But this is only to prepare diners for the meat within: near-liquescently tender pork with a smack of smoke that would have also likely pleased Fred and Barney. And there's a lot of it—as there should be at $29. But the pie is enough to feed two people at least, with neither one claiming the other is hogging the hog.

There are root vegetables, too. That means that there are traces of nutrition beneath the flaky, herb-dusted crust, which solidifies in folds around the cast iron in which it's presented, leaving a wealth of crispy bits to tear off and dip in the thick, tangy pork jus.

Hungry yet? Too bad, the dish is only available at dinnertime. But Hethcox and his pot pie are sure to be waiting for you. And so will the leftovers.

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