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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The "Making REAL Chicken Pot Pie" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Exploring a website known as Eater.com which is sponsored by Campbell's and has stories headlined with titles such as "Tracing the Spicy History of Thai Green Curry", "Digging for the Roots of Hawaiian Roast Pork", "Searching For the Origins of Mexico City's Beloved Snack, the Taco", "Searching for the birthplace of Chicken Pot Pie in Lancaster, Pennsylvania", ……… WOW!  Did I read that right?  Yep!!  A story about the birthplace of Chicken Pot Pie!  Heavens, I could have written that story years ago, since it happens all the time in the kitchen of my house.  My wife has been making the best chicken pot pie for years and years.  Chicken Pot Pie has its roots in English dishes made from leftovers which the Pennsylvania Dutch, who are descendants of German and Swiss immigrants, both Lutherans and Anabaptist (think Amish) who settled in southeastern Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th century, were famous for making.  Back then pot pie probably was known as "bott boi" in Deitsch.  Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the only area in the country to make this style of broth pot pie with "square noodles" which is known as "slippery pot pie."  Now to be fair, I do remember my mother making slippery pot pie before I married my sweetheart, Carol, but that was half a century ago and I can't remember much from that far back anymore.  Anyway, I though you might like to see how it is done and if you follow Carol's directions you may be able to make your own REAL chicken pot pie; the good kind …. "slippery pot pie."  Follow along as I take you back in time to when meals were really hearty and meant for the worker who toiled in the fields all day. Carol purchased some chicken parts which included a large breast and a large leg and thigh.  She also gathered carrots, celery, onions and potatoes ….  

Cut the carrots, onions and celery into small pieces and place in a pot with the chicken pieces.   Cover with water until the ingredients have about an inch of water over them.  Cook on medium temperature until the chicken begins to fall off the bone. Click on photos to enlarge.
Remove the chicken from the bone and place the chicken back in the pot.
Add a container of chicken stock and heat on medium until the liquid begins a slow boil.
Prepare the dough by adding 2 cups of flour, 1 Tsp. shortening, a pinch of salt, and 3 eggs.   Blend with water until you get a sticky mixture.
Coat your work surface with flour, place the sticky mixture on the surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a thickness between 1/8" to 1/4".  I like my pot pie dough thicker which makes it more chewy.  
Cut the dough into squares and drop into the stock which is at a slow boil. 
Place the dough, one at a time, into the stock.  If you put too much in at one time, it will stick together.  The dough will drop to the bottom for a short time and then will begin to rise towards the top.
The dough is beginning to float on the top of the slightly boiling broth.  At this point you can add a few potatoes that should be quartered before you drop them into the pot.
Slowly bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.  
The final result.  I like to put a few squares of butter on my potatoes and naturally have to have a helping of applesauce.  Many picture pot pie as a pie with a crust on it with filling inside, but this is the REAL pot pie as it was made back in the 17th and 18th century.  Truly a hearty meal.
Hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.  I had to have two helpings and will probably eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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