Chicken and noodles, Amish-style

Helen Mankowitz likes to cook simple comfort food -- especially this dish of chicken and Amish “bot...
(Photo by Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)
Story by The Washington Post
(The Washington Post)
Fri, Jan 18, 2013
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Helene Mankowitz likes to cook simple comfort food — especially this dish of chicken and Amish “bot” noodles. 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, Md.

The mixture tastes better after a day’s refrigeration. The noodles will thicken. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Chicken “Bot” Pie

  • 3 1/2-pound fryer chicken, giblet packet removed
  • 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
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

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. Add to the pot; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, if using.

Serve hot, in wide, shallow bowls. 6 servings.

Per serving: 380 calories, 31 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 115 milligrams cholesterol, 140 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar

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