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09/30/2019

~ Making PA Deutsch-Style Square Pot-Pie Noodles ~

IMG_1097In PA Deutsch country, their pot pie starts as a thin, brothy beef, chicken, ham or turkey soup stock containing simply celery, onion, parsley and seasoning. Large, thickish square-cut shortening-based noodles get rolled, cut and added, or, soft doughy balls of a similar mixture get dropped, into the pot to cook in the simmering soup (the latter is often referred to as chicken and dumplings).  As the noodles or dumplings cook in the soup, they thicken the broth to a sauce-like consistency.  While a bit prosaic looking, this soup is indeed luscious and luxurious.

When I was eighteen, Nana was my fiance's grandmother, and, she was as PA Deutsch.  She was a marvelous cook, baker and cross-stitcher. On nights when she was making ~ Pennsylvania Dutch-Country Chicken and Waffles ~ or her "bot-boi" ~ Nana's Bare Bones PA Deutsch Chicken Pot Pie ~, she invited the entire family because: she roasted two chickens to make the stew for the waffles, or, put a huge pot of two-chicken stock on the stovetop to make the pot pie -- these meals are an event.  Pot pie is bare bones good eating -- it's a celebration of tender noodles swimming in a pool of flavorful thickened stock with fall-off-the-bone tender meat.

Making real-deal PA Deutsch-style pot-pie noodles:

IMG_1044For every 2-quarts (8 cups) pot-pie stock-of-choice and 4 servings of chicken pot pie you will need:

1 1/2  cups cake flour

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

2  tablespoons shortening

1/2  cup milk

1/4  cup additional bench flour IMG_1048

Having the right equipment on-hand and ready to go makes these noodles super-easy to make:

large wooden pastry board; pastry blender; paring knife; small rolling pin; 12" ruler; pizza cutter; baking pan; parchment

IMG_1050 IMG_1050 IMG_1050 IMG_1050 IMG_1065~Step 1.  In a large bowl, place and stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Using a pastry blender and a paring knife, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until small grains form.

~ Step 2.  Add half of the milk. Using a spoon, stir until  crumbs begin to form.  Add the rest of the milk and stir until a rough dough comes together.  Do not overmix.

IMG_1074 IMG_1069~ Step 3. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of flour over the surface of pastry board.

IMG_1070Gather up the dough in your hands, shape it into disc and place it on the board.  Pat and press it into a rectangular shape.

IMG_1082 IMG_1077~ Step 4. Using a small roller, gently roll dough into a 12" x 8" rectangle.  This size insures proper thickness. I use a ruler to measure and by bumping it up against the sides  every now and then, to shape the rectangle.

IMG_1087 IMG_1090~ Step 5. Using the ruler as a guide, cut the rectangle into 24, 2" squares.

IMG_1102Transfer the noodles to a baking pan lined with parchment and sprinkled with flour.  Cover with a towel and set aside 1-6 hours.

IMG_1126 IMG_1118~ Step 6. With the pot-pie stock of choice simmering gently but steadily, begin dropping the noodles into the liquid, 1-2 at a time.  When all noodles have been added, lower heat and continue to simmer for about 15-16 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot and allow to steep and thicken a bit more, about 15-16 minutes.

Ladle pot-pie & pot-pie noodles into bowls & serve...

IMG_1135... garnished w/salt, pepper &, of course, parsley:

IMG_1166Making PA Deutsch-Style Square Pot-Pie Noodles:  Recipe yields instructions to make 24 pot-pie noodles, enough for 8 cups pot-pie stock-of-choice, and 4 servings pot-pie.

Special Equipment List: large wooden pastry board; pastry blender; paring knife; small rolling pin; 12" ruler; pizza cutter; baking pan; parchment paper; soup ladle

Illo-06Cook's Note: I am here to make it clear that Pennsylvania Dutch cookery does not belong solely to PA and it is not Dutch either.  The term "Dutch" was the early English settlers slang for the German word "Deutsch".  So:  When most people incorrectly say "Pennsylvania Dutch", they should be saying "Pennsylvania Deutsch", crediting the Germanic or German-speaking immigrants from Germany and Switzerland for this cuisine.  The majority of these people were either Amish, Mennonite or Brethren, all of which were considered "Anabaptist". They were fleeing the mountains of Switzerland and southern Germany to avoid religious persecution and established several communites in the Lehigh Valley.  Why?  Thank William Penn for his free-thinking, open-door, equal-opportunity-for-all of any religion or race politics.  Pennsylvania set an example for the other colonies, who all had established an official "State" religion. Pennsylvania welcomed everyone.  Proud to say we were the first to welcome people of all beliefs and walks of life.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

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