Ham (or Chicken) Pot Pie
|A little explanation before you start.
First a history lesson. Pennsylvania Dutch were actually German settlers (Dutch: Deutch) and so many of the foods that are considered Pennsylvania Dutch have German heritage. Here's a link to an article on more history.
Anyway, now the recipe history.
This recipe is actually a stew, not a pie, as most think of when hearing "pot pie". I'm guessing that it's called a "pot pie" is that its cooked in a pot, and the noodles are very similar to making pie crust.
This is also a recipe that gets handed down generation to generation and I'm guessing that every central PA household has their own version. I even use a combo of my mothers and my fraternal grandmothers.
What to do (ah, you thought there would be an ingredient list with specific steps... well, not really, as I don't cook it that way so it's hard for me to type one up that way)
First you need a stock. A good bone in ham slow roasted in the oven the day before, then boiled on the next day so the meat falls of the bone is what I do. My grandmother would have used smoked ham hocks, but I prefer a nice butt roast.
Make the noodles.
Noodle making is the "touchy" part. Like most doughs, it's all about the texture of the dough. I will tell you right now that the dough will feel very dry (especially if you're used to bread dough). So the water part can change due to the moisture in the air, etc. Remember that the noodles are like a pie crust, so we're going to cut in either shortening or butter into our flour. I like to do this in the food processor.
So start with 1-1/2 cups of flour, add 1/4 tsp of salt, and cut in 2 Tbs of chilled butter (I don't recommend margarine) or shortening. The butter/shortening should be pea sized or smaller (again, think of pie crust). Put in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Take a 1/4 cup of water or cooled broth (my mothers recipe) and 1 egg (slightly beaten) and dump in into the well. With a fork slowly mix in the flour mixture until you have a very stiff dough (I almost always work the dough by hand to get the last of the flour in.) Add more flour if needed (this is the feel part... you need a nice stiff dough). Cover with a cloth and let it rest while you add the veggies to the pot.
I then add about 1 sliced, peeled carrot, 1-2 sliced celery stalks, 1 medium diced onion and let it all simmer. (Carrot should be not quite soft). I then add 3-4 peeled cubed potatoes (3/4" cubes or larger). Let it continue to simmer.
Roll out the noodles. The key is thin. Cut the dough into quarters, roll the dough into a very thin sheet and cut into squares about 1-2" (again, different sized noodles in every home). (I use my pizza cutter to cut my squares... which aren't very square)
Add the noodles (make sure they're all cut and ready to go) to boiling broth and veggies, cover and simmer until the noodles are cooked thru (this will obviously depend on the thickness of your noodles). You'll also want to stir it often, as the noodles will want to stick together. Salt (probably won't need due to the ham broth) and pepper to taste.
Warm and tasty and starchy. Yummy. You can do the exact same recipe with chicken broth. Just take thighs and legs and boil them in water, shred the meat and then follow the rest of the directions as is.
Here's a link to a couple of different chicken (and a clam?) pot pies.
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