So I made pot pie twice in a short period of time, and I will be doing it a lot more; it's pretty easy and flexible, which suits my cooking style now. Essentially, you make a very simple dough, roll it out, cut it into squares, and drop it into boiling stew. The noodles soak up some of the liquid and make the stew into the kind of thing you can very easily imagine eating on a farm "back then" (as my kids say).
|the ham version|
However, Grandmother Showalter is very careful not to shock her eaters with too many flavors, so her recipe only calls for 1 teaspoon of minced onion and 1 teaspoon of minced parsley to 2 pounds of beef. Very funny to a modern cook! I kept her proportions the same, but played with flavors. We all loved the results.
Old-Fashioned Potpie for Modern Tastes
Cook 1lb. stewing beef cut in 1/2" cubes in 6 cups water; use a large pot (Grandmother uses 2 lbs. meat, but I wanted more veggies). Add chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, salt (I start with a scant teaspoon), pepper. When beef is nearly tender, add approximately 3 cups diced carrots and potatoes. A splash of Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Taste.
Make noodles. Beat 1 egg and 3 Tbsp. milk together in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups flour to make stiff dough (I use part whole wheat pastry flour - depends on how you feel about whole wheat noodles). Roll out dough on floured surface. Aim for 1/4" thickness or less - we like the noodles on the thick, chewy, toothsome side. Drop the noodles into the boiling stew, stirring occasionally to make sure they don't stick together. I stir in chopped fresh parsley at this point, too. Allow to boil for 15 minutes or so.
Ham variation: Use chopped ham instead of beef. Keep the onion, potato, and carrot, but also a cup or two of sauerkraut and add 2 bay leaves and a clove or two. Lots of black pepper and parsley at the end.
Notes: This is a very forgiving recipe. You can add more liquid if the noodles suck up too much in cooking or in sitting in the fridge as leftovers. You can make the stew base earlier in the day and bring it back up to boiling closer to dinner when you make the noodles. You can make the noodle dough at least an hour ahead of rolling it - in fact, the gluten will relax and make the rolling-out easier - just keep the dough in an airtight container at room temperature.
I'd love your ideas for more variations - what other kinds of stews or flavor combinations should I use with these noodles?
We've got an honest-to-John blizzard going on right now outside the window: blowing snow and sleet, everything canceled. Perfect day for a thick homey stew like this!