My boyfriend, Michael, is from the South. I was born and raised in Central PA (otherwise know as PA Dutch Country or Amish County). As I have mentioned before, we both like to eat. So, since we are both currently located near my stomping grounds and he is fairly new to the area, I like to cook all the local specialties for him. Today I am making Chicken Pot Pie. To most people, a traditional pot pie has two crusts and is filled with meat and vegetables in a savory gravy. Yum. This, however, is not the case in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. If you ask for pot pie here, it will be served in a bowl and will contain chicken (or beef or ham), large, square noodles, potatoes and a rich broth. Mike is a fan of the southern version of this, Chicken and Dumplings, so I figured he would like this as well.
So here’s how I made it:
To make a proper pot pie, one must have the right kind of noodles (that’s what makes this dish). I admit that today, I cheated. I bought prepared pot pie noodles. But I got them at the Amish store…that’s got to count for something, right? My mom always made them from scratch, so if you want to go for real authenticity here, more power to you. Here’s how to make them.
3 cups of flour
1 whole egg
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
Knead first 3 ingredients together, adding small amounts of water alternately until the dough holds together. Divide the dough into manageable pieces and roll to about 1/8 inch thick. With a knife, cut the dough into 2 inch squares. Allow the dough squares to dry for about 30 minutes before using.
To make the broth:
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
2 ribs celery
1 onion, cut into quarters
Handful baby carrots, or you could use 1 large carrot, cut into large pieces
Salt and Pepper
I cooked the above ingredients in a large stock pot with 2 quarts of water for about one hour (or until chicken was cooked through).
I took the pot off the heat and removed the chicken from the pot to allow everything to cool for a bit. Once the broth was cooled a bit and the fat started to separate, I skimmed the fat off the top and discarded it. I strained the broth to remove the veggies, bay leaf, and any random chicken parts. When the chicken was cooled enough, I picked all the meat from the bones and tore it into bite-sized pieces. I threw away the skin and bones.
Then I cut into bite-sized pieces:
A few more baby carrots
Another rib or two of celery
2 large potatoes, peeled
Ok, then I brought the broth to a boil in the original pot and added the chicken, the bite-size vegetables, and the pot pie noodles*. I also added more water to the pot, because I didn’t seem to have enough to be able to cook the noodles. Now I just let the whole thing boil on medium heat to cook the noodles, stirring gently a few times so they wouldn’t stick together. Once everything was cooked, I added a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the broth.
*If you are using homemade noodles, gently slide them into the boiling broth a few at a time and stir gently and frequently to keep them from sticking together. They should be ready in 6-8 minutes.
Now, let me add at this point that I have deviated a bit from what the “traditional” form of this dish might look like. Most of the time, I don’t think that the extra vegetables are added, except for the potatoes, so that in the bowl, the dish would normally just have noodles, potatoes, and meat. However, I like to add my own touch to things and I like to have different colors and textures in my food, so I added the extra carrots, onions, and celery. I also added a bit of fresh rosemary from my herb garden (why not, right?) The finished product is pictured above and Mike loved it!