The ultimate comfort food, Chicken Pot Pie, is an old Pennsylvania Dutch favorite. Many newcomers and visitors to our area expect “pot pie,” or “bott boi” in PA German, to be a meat and vegetable dish covered with a pastry crust. They are surprised when Lancaster County’s stew-like version, with thick squares of dumpling-like noodles, is set before them.
Saffron may seem an unusual ingredient in this recipe as well. But for many Lancaster County cooks, this savory, golden spice is a staple. Next to salt and pepper, it flavors many dishes, such as bread stuffings, chicken corn noodle soups, and of course, pot pies. Its popularity dates back to the early 1700s when the German settlers brought saffron bulbs from their native land to plant in their gardens. Today’s Lancastrians continue the tradition.
The typical pot pie recipe calls for both dark and white meat and lots of potatoes. We made our pot pie healthier by using the leanest cut of poultry, the breast, and since the dough has enough carbohydrates, we eliminated the potatoes, and added celery and carrots. We substituted white whole-wheat flour (see sidebar) for half the all-purpose white flour to add more fiber and used an egg substitute for lower cholesterol.
You can use packaged pot pie noodles, but homemade are so much better. Plus, rolling your own pot pie dough provides you with a good upper arm work-out.
Pot Pie Ingredients
- 2 chicken breast halves, deboned and skinless (1 pound)
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth, such as Swanson’s
- 3 stalks celery, chopped into two-inch pieces
- 3 large carrots, chopped into two-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped into one-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads, optional
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
Pot Pie Dough Ingredients
(Hint: Make dough while chicken and vegetables are simmering)
- 1 cup all-purpose white flour (plus more for work surface)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cholesterol-free egg substitutes
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Heat chicken broth in large pot over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer.
- Add the chicken breasts, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
- Add saffron, bay leaf, celery, carrots, onion and ground pepper to the broth. Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly soft.
- Make the pot pie dough while the chicken breast and vegetables are simmering.
- Mix flour and salt in a large bowl, add the egg substitute and water. Mix together well by hand until you can make a ball.
- Place the ball of dough on a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed so dough does not stick.
- Roll out dough very thin (about ⅛ inch) and cut into two-inch squares. Dough will be very elastic so keep rolling and stretching it out. Lay squares in single layer on wax paper so they do not stick together and are easier to pick up and drop into the broth.
- Bring vegetables and broth to boil then drop noodles one by one into the saucepan, stirring after every four or five squares so they do not stick together.
- Reduce heat and simmer until dough is cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Shred chicken and add to stock, heat through one minute. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Note: If you refrigerate to serve later, the pot pie will absorb the chicken broth. Add more chicken stock if pot pie seems too thick.
Adapted from the LG Health Wellness Center’s “The Lighter Side of Lancaster: Traditional Recipes Made Healthier!”
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 216 calories; 1.g total fat (0.0g saturated, 0.1g polyunsaturated and 0.0g monounsaturated); 790mg sodium; 27.5mg cholesterol; 30g carbohydrate; 3.8g fiber; 2.9g sugars; 20.4g protein; 182mg potassium.
Find white whole wheat flour in your local grocery store. Here are some facts:
- White whole wheat flour is milled from hard spring wheat, a lighter color than traditional red whole wheat.
- White whole wheat flour gives dough and baked goods a lighter taste and texture than whole wheat flour.