Potomac resident Helene Mankowitz likes to cook simple comfort food -- especially this dish of chicken and Amish "bot" noodles, which is not really a potpie at all. Her late mother, Reba Hochberger, was fond of Amish ingredients because she spent the early years of her marriage in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Mankowitz watched her mother make the dish and committed the process to memory.
She buys her fryer chickens and Pennsylvania Dutch-style square egg noodles, sometimes labeled as "pot pie squares," at the Lancaster County Dutch Market in Germantown.
Mankowitz's family likes the dish fairly plain; you may wish to add 2 or 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Make Ahead: The mixture tastes better after a day’s refrigeration. The noodles will thicken. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- One 3 1/2-pound fryer chicken, giblet packet removed (see headnote)
- About 8 cups water, or as needed
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 or 4 small carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch coins
- 2 large ribs celery, cut lengthwise into quarters, then into small dice
- 2 heaping tablespoons concentrated chicken soup base, such as Better Than Bouillon brand (optional)
- 12 to 16 ounces dried square egg noodles (see headnote)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Choose a pot that is deep, but not much wider than the chicken itself.
Wash the chicken and place it in the pot. Cover with the water by no more than 1 inch. Bring barely to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Skim off and discard any foam on the surface.
Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook uncovered, keeping the liquid bubbling gently, for about 45 minutes; the chicken should be cooked through.
Transfer the chicken, shaking off any excess liquid, to a colander or bowl. (The vegetables continue to cook over medium heat.)
Meanwhile, taste the liquid in the pot. If it doesn’t have much chicken flavor, stir in the chicken soup base. Add the noodles and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure they don’t stick together. The noodles are done when they are tender but not mushy.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones. Shred or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces; there should be about 3 1/2 cups of meat. Add to the pot; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(At this point, if desired, stir in the lemon juice and parsley mentioned in the headnote.)
Serve hot, in wide, shallow bowls.
From Potomac resident Helene Mankowitz.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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