A descendent of great cooks, I am heir to some of the best recipes ever created.
It's Not a Pie!
Envision a bubbly stew thick with potatoes, homemade noodle squares, and ham. This Pennsylvania Dutch recipe is not a pie in the traditional sense, but rather a thick soup. The appearance is creamy and when ladled into deep bowls. It's a soul-warming comfort food for a cold winter night.
You probably won't find this recipe in but the fewest of cookbooks. There are versions online but few of them represent the version used for church suppers, which are the fundraisers in West Central and South Central Pennsylvania. The recipe shared here is the one that was handed down through my family in Bedford County, PA for a half dozen generations. I still make it the very same way.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 30 min
For the broth:
- 4 cups ham, cut into chunks
- 3 quarts water
- Ham bone (optional)
For the dough:
- 4 cups flour
- Water, as needed
- 1 egg
Add to the broth:
- 4 cups white potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Simmer the ham in 3 quarts of water for 1.5 hours until the meat separates when poked with a fork. If the meat begins to dry out, add more water to completely cover it while it is cooking. A leftover ham bone will give the dish a more intense flavor but is not necessary. Allow the broth to cool, skim fat from the top, and return to the stove to boil.
- Prepare the dough for the noodles: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, egg, and enough water to make a sticky dough (see photo). Roll the dough onto a floured board or clean countertop and knead lightly, adding flour as needed, until the dough is no longer sticky. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2-inch squares (see photo).
- Turn the heat up to high, wait until the broth returns to a full rolling boil and add the peeled, cubed potatoes to the broth.
- Add the dough squares one at a time to the boiling broth. Stir frequently to cover noodles with broth and prevent them from sticking together. Boil slowly until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the parsley and pepper to taste. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Memories of My Grandma's Ham Pot-Pie
One of my favorite childhood memories is the pots of stews and soups that always seemed to be bubbling on the stove in my grandma's kitchen. Whether it was morning or afternoon, the kitchen was alive with the smells of meats like pork and venison and the sight of flour drifting to the floor as Grandma rolled out the dough for her ham pot-pie on the kitchen table. Her apron protected her clothes but her shoes wore a layer of fine white dust as her rolling pin came dangerously close to the table edge, pushing traces of the fine white powder over and down to the floor.
My grandma made simple, hearty foods influenced by her Pennsylvania Deutsch (German) heritage. Recipes were prepared not from cookbooks but from tradition taught through the generations, one cook to the next. Foods seasoned with a handful of this and a shake of that; they were measured by the eye and approved by the taste.
E Randall from United States on December 24, 2020:
That looks delicious, thanks for posting the recipe. I will have to try this.