Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Heritage

I'm not likely to get much of an inheritance in the form of money or material possessions. I'm okay with that. My inheritance has come in many other forms.

My grandma and my mom are two of the best cooks that ever graced God's green earth. That's a pretty tough act to follow, but I have been paying attention for the past 32 years, and I think I have picked up a few things. Although they have never written down the recipe, one of the meals that they have handed down through the generations is chicken and noodles.

Today's weather (a heavy rain and a windchill of 16 degrees) indicated that I would need a comforting meal to warm up my husband when he came in, so I gathered a helper or two and began making some noodles.

The recipe itself is quite simple:
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 T. oil
1/3 cup water

Mix the flour and salt together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and then incorporate into the dry ingredients. Knead until smooth and elastic (I cheat and use my KitchenAid).

Let the dough rest for a few minutes. Generously flour two or three cutting boards.

Making tracks in the flour on the cutting board is an essential first step.

Divide the dough into three or four pieces. Make sure your helpers pat the dough down formidably.

Roll out the dough thinly. The two-handed roll is essential. I set out to make three rectangles that were about 10 inches by 14 inches.

I ended up with less-than-rectangular shapes, thanks to my geometrically challenged helpers. The nice thing about noodles is that they don't have to be uniform, and an occasional handprint won't hurt a thing.

I use a pizza cutter to slice the noodles. I use the "rule of thumb" when slicing; the noodles should be about one thumb-width wide and about four inches long.

I leave the noodles out to dry a bit before I lift them off the cutting boards and pile them up.

Meanwhile, I'm cooking up a chicken. My unscientific recipe is as follows:
3-4 stalks celery and leaves, chopped
1 cup carrots
1 onion, quartered
a few shakes of parsley
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
3 bay leaves
8 cups water
1 chicken, skinned

Dump all those things in a pot. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour or longer. Remove chicken to a cutting board and pour the liquid and vegetables over a collander lined with cheesecloth.

This is what you want to toss away.

This is what you want to keep.

While the chicken is cooling a bit, chop up some more vegetables. Anything goes here, but I used onions, carrots, and celery because that's what was in my fridge. Dump it in the broth that you strained. Then pull all the meat off the boiled chicken and chop it up. Add it to the pot along with some salt, pepper, thyme, a bit of sage, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Cook until the carrots are tender. Add 3 T. cornstarch to 1/2 cup of cold water. Mix well and dump into the pot to thicken.

This is how my husband likes to eat his chicken and noodles. It requires a spoon.

My heritage requires that I do something a little bit non-traditional.

I start with a heap of mashed potatoes, heavy on the butter.

Then I pile on the noodles.

Why do we put soup on potatoes? I have no idea. All I know is that Grandma does it that way, Mom does it that way, and who am I to argue with my heritage?


Brother in Christ said...

Hmmmmm.....Don't recall the vegetables!! But the noodles??? Boy Howdy!!!

Mum-me said...

Looks and sounds delicious. We don't have a dish anything like that here - that I know of! My american Grandma used to cook noodles in broth and serve it at Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey and mashed potatoes (I was the only girl in my class, my year, my whole school who celebrated Thanksgiving. In fact, I think I was the only girl who had every eaten turkey too.)

Erin said...

Jim, I added the vegetables to my own recipe so that my kids don't grow up afraid to eat them. I promise they don't hurt you, and they make it so much more colorful!

farmnwife said...

I think your non-traditional way with the mashed potatoes looks better. I'll try that next time.


Jenny said...

Does look good!!
I'm amazed at your weather, will your garden survive the windchill? We have had wind here, but temps still reach 100s.

Dawn said...

It's early here and temps are already in the 90's BUT the chicken and noodles still looked so good!

I may make some myself with a loaf of fresh baked honey wheat bread for dinenr. Sounds like a good way to end a busy week!

Thanks for the idea!!!

Anonymous said...

That looks *amazing*. I must try it soon!

Anonymous said...

I have never in my life heard of anyone eating soup on top of mashed potatoes...but you know what? It actually looks pretty good!

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

I am all about the homemade noodles--and always make them for chicken noodle soup.

The girls love to choose the shape--little hearts, stars, long strips like yours, whatever strikes their fancy!



Anonymous said...

Yummy.. Maybe i'll try to make that oneday..


Rina the Mama Bear said...

That looks fabulous!!!!

I'll have to try that sometime soon!

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