Whenever I mention the Hoosier delight of chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, I get quite a hue and cry of disbelief from those who live outside of Hoosier land.
We Hoosiers stick staunchly behind our favored dish - - - we know if you ever try it once you also will be hooked.
Now, these aren't just ANY noodles. The BEST chicken and noodles are made with homemade noodles. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I USED to be a bit of a domestic diva when it came to the kitchen - - - making homemade bread WITHOUT a bread maker and homemade noodles.
Homemade noodles are WONDERFUL, but they are also time consuming to make, so now that I'm a classroom diva, I've given up my noodling. But I can STILL tell you about it.
However, since it is after midnight, I did NOT stay up and slave away to MAKE these noodles just to show you photos. No, I used my spiritual gift of google instead. BUT, I will give credit where credit is due.
The BEST Hoosier noodles begin with a very simple recipe. They contain flour, salt, a tiny amount of water, a little olive oil (some recipes call for this, some don't) and eggs. Thus the name, "egg noodles." And the BEST use more yolks than whites - - - that's the way we rolled when I used to make them.
Rolled!!! Ha!!! You will soon see that rolled is a noodling pun.
First you make a lovely mountain with your flour and salt. In the center of the mountain you make a nice volcanic crater. Into the crater go the eggs, water, and oil, if you are using oil.
Next comes the fun part!!! You scrub your hands until they are nice and sterile, then you begin to squeeze the eggs through the flour, working the dough until it will make:
A lovely soft dough ball like this. You don't want it to be too dry and tough, or your noodles will be too.
Next you roll your noodle dough flat and thin. The thickness depends on how thick you want your final noodles to be. Remember, they will thicken some as they cook, so I always tried to get them REAL thin.
This process requires a well floured counter top AND a well floured rolling pin. I used to keep sprinkling flour over the dough as I rolled. Flour is IMPORTANT - - - you want loose flour hanging onto your noodles so the broth will thicken when you cook them.
Once your dough is rolled real thin, you begin to cut. When I was a novice noodler, I used to cut long individual noodles as shown in the above picture. Then a more expert noodler gave me a GREAT tip. With the dough well floured, it works GREAT to fold it over into at least fourths before cutting. That way, you make less and shorter cuts.
Once cut, you spread the well floured noodles out on the counter and let them dry a while. If you are going to cook some immediately, you don't have to let them dry very long - - - at this point you can start boiling your chicken and by the time you have removed the chicken to debone it, the noodles will be ready to drop into the rapidly boiling chicken stock to cook.
If you have made extra and want to keep them, you need to let them dry thoroughly. If they are dry enough, you don't need to freeze them - - - they will keep in a plastic bag for months. If you leave moisture in them, you will have to freeze them for later use.
If you don't want to go to all the fuss and bother of MAKING your own noodles, there are homemade style noodles in most grocery stores to purchase. I just found this photo online and have NO IDEA if this particular brand is good or not. They don't look like they have enough flour sticking to them to me - - - but what do I know, I'm a rather novice noodler.
While your noodles are boiling, you will want to add salt, pepper, chopped onion and the deboned chicken. Some folks like to add chopped carrots - - - which do add beautiful color, but are totally unnecessary and NOT traditionally Hoosier.
When your noodles are tender and the broth has thickened, spoon them over mashed potatoes and VOILA:
You have created a Hoosier masterpiece of comfort food perfection. Do you see that THIS chicken and noodle dish is NOT SOUP??? That's why the flour on the noodles was so important. Now, if your first attempt turns out too runny it will still TASTE good, but the broth will run down the sides of the potatoes and make everything watery.
Of course, if this were MY dish of chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes, I would have ladeled about TWO MORE dips of noodles onto my potatoes. But then, I'm too old to care about my starches any more. :-)
So - - - here's my challenge to all you nonbelievers - - - GIVE IT A TRY!!! I double noodle dare you! Once you try it, there's no going back!!!!
I only wish you could have Keri's mashed potatoes with your noodles, 'cause hers are THE BESTEST.