Saturday, October 16, 2010
The Mennonite tries Methodist: Chicken and Noodles
Recently the big downtown food event of the year was happening in our quaint little village . Taste of Newton, kickoff to the Bethel College Fall Festival, closes down the main streets in the heart of the town and becomes a feeding frenzy of sorts. Churches, clubs, businesses, and organizations set up booths and sell their culinary specialities.There is also some local entertainment, singers, dancers, etc. but let's not kid ourselves, it is all about the food. Newtonians turn out for this event. They try ethnic foods, barbecue, and even fried food served in state fair type trailers. They see old friends and stop to laugh, talk and hold their stomachs while they compare their eating adventures. It is a great time.
In my mind I had already decided that my dinner of choice would involve a reach across the denominational aisle for a Methodist main dish ( chicken and noodles) and a Presbyterian dessert (apple dumplings). These two things have been my favorite for the last 8 years or so that I attended. But it was not to be so. I eagerly approached the spot where the chicken and noodles table is usually stationed and I found a big empty patch of pavement. I was so disappointed. Stubbornly I made the rounds hoping maybe they had just chosen a new location but my search was in vain. There was not a bowl of Methodist chicken and noodles to be found. Not to worry, I found plenty to eat anyway but there was a hole in my heart where a bowl of chicken and noodles should have found its place.
What do we do when there is a hole in our hearts? Well, we can try to fill that place with something else, we can try to distract ourselves with banalities temporal or we can deny that we are missing anything. Sometimes, we have to just wait and hope for what we are missing. Occasionally we realize what we have been missing has been there all along. And sometimes, as in the case of my chicken and noodles cavity, we have to take care of the need ourselves. And so, armed with a lovely plump locally raised chicken from Prairie Harvest and some Amish noodles from the grocery store, I cooked up a Mennonite batch of Methodist fare. It took a while, but it was wonderful.
Here is the recipe I used. It is modified from the Mennonite Community Cookbook.
Chicken and Noodles
1 plump locally raised chicken
1 lb package of noodles (I prefer the ones that say Amish on the package!)
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 T butter
4 T flour
2 cups milk
3 cups chicken broth
Cook chicken in water until tender and remove meat from the bones. Cut into pieces.
Boil noodles in salt water according to package directions.
Drain the noodles with warm water.
Make a thin white sauce with the butter, flour and milk.
Add chopped chicken and noodles to broth. Stir in white sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
These were sooo good! Almost as good as the Methodist version although I still hope they come back to next Taste of Newton. If not, at least I know I don't have to go without- thanks to Grandma's cookbook.