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  • Post last modified:June 16, 2021
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Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie – The Most Comforting Of Foods

I remember having this for a school lunch very often. Much more filling than chicken noodle soup, I present to you the Pennsylvania Dutch style Chicken Pot Pie.

So yes, the majority of the country hears Chicken Pot Pie and they think of chicken, veggies, with a gravy saucy substance, baked in a pie. But for me and many others in a particular part of Pennsylvania, that just isn’t what we think of. The first mentioned item to us is simply “chicken pie”. Ours is more of a thick soup. Enough to fill your belly and keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

The Pennsylvania Dutch

To start, the Pennsylvania Dutch are NOT Dutch. They are German immigrants and their present day descendants (like me). Deutsch is the German word for, well…German. The English speaking settlers at the time the influx of Germans came over couldn’t pronounce Deutsch, so that became Dutch. The Pennsylvania German Settlers became the Pennsylvania Dutch.

To properly pronounce Deutch:

Along with that, they developed their own language. A cross between High German and English. Some German phrases translated literally, and sometimes they still say things that anyone outside of the community would not understand, but perhaps someone who speaks German could piece together. Some phrases I wasn’t aware of until I said them in front of my husband, or we moved out of state and people’s heads would tilt when I said certain things.

Here’s a video to teach you a few PA Dutch phrases from someone who speaks it as her first language.

Don’t get me wrong, Matt grew up in the same area I did, but even within that area, the exposure to the Pennsylvania Dutch community is split. My grandparents loved the culture, and I have fond memories of traveling to the Lancaster, PA area for festivals or to the Green Dragon Swap Meet in Ephrata. I vaguely remember playing with Amish or Mennonite children at a Covered Wagon festival sometime in the 1980’s. In college, I worked at a campground in an area close to where the PA Dutch are prevalent, and I worked with Mennonites at a grocery store. So I guess my exposure was much more than my husbands or others in my area.

So, why is it called “Pot Pie?”

Now that you know a bit about the Pennsylvania Dutch and how they have their own German/English combination language. The name evolved from a dish called “Bott Boi” which is a dish made with a broth made from meat, in this case chicken. The broth is thickened with potatoes, other vegetables and dumplings or noodles. Thickened soup being the “bott boi”. Even German has evolved the name of this dish to “Eintopf.” If you ask the older generations who swear this one is “the right one” they’ll tell you its because “it’s made in a pot.” And that is the end of that argument.

However, there is “the other kind”, you know, the one with the crust. I stumbled upon a blog post about PA Dutch Chicken Pot Pie vs “the other kind” of Pot Pie. The author emailed William Woys Weaver, the author of “As American as Shoofly Pie: The Foodlore and Fakelore of Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine.” I’ll link to her full post, and how one of her older relatives supports the idea of “it’s made in a pot” as the explanation behind the name.

When asked about the soup vs crust versions of Chicken Pot Pie, Weaver tells the author of the Susquehanna Life Blog:

“Both types are very old,” he explained. “The crust type came out of medieval English culture while the one made with layered noodles came out of medieval German culture—two similar dishes evolving from parallel culinary traditions. They end up side by side in America—both concepts are thought to trace to the ancient Celts. They cooked in cauldrons, so lining one with dough was one of the ancestors of the modern pot pie, the “pot” being the cauldron.”

Susquehanna Life Blog email with William Woys Weaver

If you’re interested in William Woys Weaver’s book:

"As American as Shoofly Pie - The Foodlore and Fakelore of Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine" by William Woys Weaver  Book Cover

And now- Pennyslvania Dutch Style – Chicken Pot Pie

I browsed through recipes and came upon three that I liked and decided to combine. They are from the following blogs or company sites (links will lead to their Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie recipe/story).

My combination of these recipes comes out as such.

You’ll Need:

For the Broth:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • enough water to cover the chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp dried parsley
  • pinch ground turmeric
  • 2 bullion cubes

Fill pot with chicken breasts and enough water to cover. Add salt and pepper, bullion cubes, turmeric, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 90 minutes.

Chicken boiling in pot

For the Dough:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ⅛ cup milk up to 1/4 if needed
  • ½ tsp baking powder

While the broth is simmering, sift dough dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Next, dice or break up butter and add to your bowl.

Beat the egg and add to the bowl along with milk and mix to desired dough consistency. The dough should hold together and have a slight stickiness to it.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ⅛” and slice in to 1.5″ to 2″ squares. Then leave the dough on a kitchen towel to dry for 20-30 minutes, flip in between to allow both sides to dry out.

Chicken Pot Pie Dough Sliced

Prep your vegetables while the dough is drying.

For the Soup:

  • 3 medium white or gold potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 large celery ribs diced
  • ½ medium onion peeled and diced
  • 1-2 tsp dried parsley

Remove chicken to a plate to cool and remove bay leaf (discard bay leaf). Use a wire mesh strainer to pull any bits left inside of the pot or pieces of bay leaf. Keep broth simmering. Add vegetables to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Bring to a boil and add dough, one piece at a time. Space out where you add squares so they don’t stick to each other, they’ll rise fairly quickly, losing stickiness, and a new piece can go where a risen piece has gone. Reduce to a low simmer for 20 more minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie in Pot

Lightly break apart or shred chicken and add to pot. Simmer for 20 more minutes.

Remove from heat, add more salt and pepper to taste plus parsley and serve.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie

tHE rECIPE

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie

Comes from the dish Bott Boi, which evolved into the word Pot Pie, meaning thickened soup.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Pennsylvania Dutch
Keyword: Chicken, Dumplings, Soup
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

For the Broth & Soup

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • enough water to cover the chicken
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch ground turmeric

For the Dough

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • cup milk up to 1/4 if needed
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Soup Veggies

  • 3 medium white or gold potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 large celery ribs diced
  • ½ medium onion peeled and diced
  • 1-2 tsp dried parsley

Instructions

Start the Broth

  • Fill pot with chicken breasts and enough water to cover. Add salt and pepper, bullion cubes, turmeric, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 90 minutes.

Make the Dough

  • While the broth is simmering, sift dough dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  • Dice or break up butter and add to bowl.
  • Beat egg and add to bowl along with milk and mix to desired dough consistency. Should hold together and have a slight stickiness to it.
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ⅛" and slice in to 1.5" to 2" squares.
  • Leave on a kitchen towel to dry for 20-30 minutes, flip in between to allow both sides to dry out. Prep vegetables while dough is drying.

Put it all together

  • Remove chicken to a plate to cool and remove bay leaf (discard bay leaf). Use a wire mesh strainer to pull any bits left inside of the pot or pieces of bay leaf. Keep broth simmering.
  • Add vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil and add dough, one piece at a time. Space out where you add squares so they don't stick to each other, they'll rise fairly quickly, losing stickiness, and a new piece can go where a risen piece has gone. Reduce to a low simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Lightly break apart or shred chicken and add to pot. Simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add more salt and pepper to taste plus parsley and serve.

Is this something you grew up with or totally new to you? And are you team Pot Pie with Crust or Pot Pie as a Soup like what we’ve made today? Let us know!

Here are some other soup Recipes we think you may enjoy:


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