Swedish Chicken & Noodles

Well, I can hardly believe it. One year ago today, I wrote my first Shiksa in the Kitchen blog. I had no idea then how quickly this project would grow. Thanks to all of you wonderful readers, my hobby food blog has turned into a much bigger project than I ever could have dreamed!

Here are just a few of the amazing things that happened this year:

I converted to Judaism.

I converted to Judaism.

I toured Manhattan delis in search of the perfect knish.

Our first annual kosher recipe contest was a huge success.

I built a sukkah.

I traveled to Israel and learned about Biblical cuisine.

My recipes were featured on BonAppetit.com, CNN.com, and many other fabulous websites.

Wayne Brady ate my challah bread pudding.

Marley ate my birthday cake.

Nummy cake, naughty dog!

Many incredible Jewish families shared their family recipes and traditions with me, including Rabbi Kerry Olitsky, Etti and Bella Hadar and their Levin family memoirs, Sharone Dayan, Rachel Mandel, Farah, Rob Eshman, Gila Ronel, Dr. Tova Dickstein, Malka Clement, Talia Cohn, Bracha, Sandra Ashtamker, Susan Fedrow, Susan Yeager, and all of the other fabulous participants in my Kosher Recipe Contest. This blog couldn’t happen without the selfless generosity of those who share their timeless family recipes with me. I consider a family’s food heritage sacred; the fact that so many have been willing to share that heritage with me is a real honor and blessing.

To celebrate the first blog-iversary of Shiksa in the Kitchen, I’d like to share with you my family’s recipe for Swedish Chicken and Noodles. This is a wonderfully simple (and kosher!) dish that can be made on a shoestring budget to feed a large group people. It’s sort of like a thicker and creamier version of chicken noodle soup (though it contains no cream). A pot of chicken and noodles will feed 8-10 hungry guests. You can stretch it even further by mashing up some potatoes and pouring the noodle mixture over the potatoes; doing this will nearly double the amount of servings. Chicken and Noodles is a delicious starchy carb-fest, the ultimate in comfort food. It’s been a staple in my family since I was born. In these tough financial times, when we’re all watching what we spend, it’s an economical and delicious dinner option. It’s also a fun excuse to meet with your friends or relatives and cook up something yummy together.

When I was growing up, it was an annual tradition for the women in our family to gather for a Chicken and Noodles party. It was a very social event that usually occurred during the holidays. The women would meet in the morning, make the dough and cut the noodles. As the noodle dough dried, they would go shopping at the local drugstore to check out the new Christmas decorations and displays. When they came back, the noodles would be dry and ready to cut. Then they would cook up a big batch of chicken and noodles, along with a pot of mashed potatoes to stretch out the dish. That way, there would be enough for the hungry men in the family, who would inevitably show up later in the day to feast on the finished product.

My Grandma Carolyn taught us this recipe; she learned it from her mother, who learned it from her mother, and so on as far back as we can remember. On that side of the family we descend from Swedish immigrants to Nebraska (you can learn more about my maternal ancestry here). This simple recipe has been handed down from the Swedish matriarchs in our family, so I call it Swedish Chicken and Noodles. I’m putting a picture of my grandma and great grandma here, because my mom’s a little camera shy.  ;)

Grandma Carolyn and Great Grandma Arnold

We make these noodles the old fashioned way—rolling, drying, and cutting them with a knife. You can use a pasta cutting tool, if you want, but my mom prefers cutting them by hand. In her words, “I like cutting the noodles. It takes time, but that’s the point. Making chicken and noodles is all about getting together with the girls and gabbing while you cook. If you used a pasta cutter, it would go too fast. Where’s the fun in that?”

One word of warning: this is a somewhat messy project. Flour will get everywhere. Your fingers will be coated in dough. You’ll want to wear an apron.

Some super exciting things are developing for 2011 on the Shiksa blog. I’m looking forward to sharing more recipes and food history with you, b’li neder. Wishing you all a fabulous new year. May your wildest and most wonderful dreams be fulfilled!

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Swedish Chicken and Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 chicken (about 4 lbs)
  • 4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped including leaves
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Ingredients

  • Frozen green peas
  • Mashed potatoes

You will also need

  • Mixing bowl, sifter, rolling pin, parchment paper, large stockpot
Servings: 8-10 servings
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Beat 6 eggs in a small bowl till frothy. Reserve.
  • Sift 2 cups of flour with 1 heaping tbsp of salt into your mixing bowl. Reserve 2 more cups of flour in another bowl.
  • In your mixing bowl, make a “well” in the center of the sifted flour and pour the beaten eggs in. Use a fork to mix the eggs into the flour until it is evenly moistened.
  • Sift more flour into the bowl, a couple of tablespoons at a time, and continue to stir until a soft dough forms.
  • When the dough gets too thick to stir, use your hands to knead. Stop adding flour when the dough holds together and is only slightly sticky to the touch (it will be soft). Let the dough rest uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Coat your rolling surface generously with sifted flour. Scoop up a small handful of dough from the bowl (a little more than ½ cup of dough). Dip it in the flour on the board and pat it down to flatten it.
  • Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough till it’s very thin.
  • Fold the rolled dough into quarters and move it to a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Unfold it and leave it to dry.
  • Repeat this process until all of the dough has been rolled out.
  • Let the noodle dough dry for about 2 hours, flipping the dough pieces over once halfway through drying. This amount of time can vary based on the weather—if it’s hot outside, the drying may go faster. Check the dough’s texture periodically by touching it with clean fingers. The dough is ready to cut when it is dry to the touch, but not hard. If you’re in a hurry you can cut the dough when it is half-dry, but it won’t be as easy to cut or manage.
  • Slice each flattened piece of dough into three long strips. Cut those strips into noodles. We usually cut them about a centimeter wide, but you can cut them thicker or thinner depending on your personal preference.
  • Scoop up the noodles and scatter them on a piece of parchment paper to finish drying.
  • Once you have cut the noodles, you can immediately proceed with making the chicken and noodles. If you’d rather store the noodles for future use, let them dry completely (this can take 24-48 hours depending on the weather). Once the noodles are totally dry, place them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store them in a dark, cool place. They will last about 1 month; discard them if they start to darken or turn black.
  • Note: The chicken stock can actually be made while the noodles are drying, if you’re running short on time. My mom prefers to make the chicken stock after the noodles are cut, because the process is more fun when you have stretches of time to sit around and chat while things are cooking.
  • Rinse your whole chicken (giblets removed) and place it into a large stockpot. Cover the chicken with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Skim the foam that rises to the top. Add chopped celery, onions, and black pepper to the broth. You do not need to add any salt, the noodles contain a lot of salt so it’s best to hold off adding more at this point.
  • Let the chicken simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat softens and begins to fall off the bone. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a roasting pan or platter. Strain the chicken broth, removing all the celery and onions. Return broth to the stockpot.
  • If you want to cut down on fat, you can let the broth cool completely and skim the fat that collects on the surface. Pull meat from the chicken in bite-sized pieces and return it to the broth; discard bones. Bring broth back to a slow boil.
  • Add noodles to the broth. Let them boil gently, stirring frequently, until tender. For an al dente texture, cook for 10-12 minutes. For a softer texture (which I prefer), cook 15-16 minutes. The noodles will soak up most of the broth and produce a thick, starchy, salty sauce.
  • If you want to add some frozen green peas, put them in during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Taste the noodles when they are completely cooked and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Serve in bowls plain or over mashed potatoes (if you’re keeping kosher, make sure the mashed potatoes are pareve). This, as my mother says, is the ultimate comfort food. Yum!

Comments (34)Post a Comment

  1. Sooo Yummy looking :-) Never made homemade noodles before, but your illustrations are very inspirational, thanx! Look forward to all the recipes and newsie stories. Barbara Erdman :-)

  2. Uh-oh.. I see Marley eyeing the dough, LOL! Thank you! I can’t wait to try this. I have never made homemade noodles either. But I love a challenge! Thank you!

  3. When I was a little girl, we used to come to my ganny for Sunday dinners, my mom and granny would make the home made noodles. Never made them myself after that, should try. Sounds like the recipy my family used.

  4. Sounds YUM! I need new recipes for stove top family dinners as when the oven was being replaced the electrician smashed the glass door to smithereens! Accidentally of course! But due to the holiday season I can’t get a new one till end of Jan or thereby! My children are a bit over spag bol, curries and sausages etc (I am too a bit!), so this looks right up my alley! I’ll keep you posted! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!XXXXX

  5. Congrats on your one year of great blogging and receipes. Never had Sweddish chicken and noodles in my life and I cant wait to try it.
    Keep up the great work.
    Thanks

  6. Wow — very interesting looking! My husband’s father’s family is Swedish (our last name is Holmstrom), so want to try this before it gets warm out. Thanks so much for the detailed instructions and the pictures — a big help! I enjoy the blog very much — half my family is Jewish, but I am a practicing Catholic (the other half is Irish), so appreciate the take on the interfaith heritage. The blog is informative, entertaining and well written. Good job!

  7. My Bubbele knew I would marry a shiksa someday and taught me to cook so I would be able to eat good jewish food and not go hungry,she was right I am now 38 I’m marrying a shiksa who is studying halacha and judaism, she may not convert but I love her. I am no longer a hassid but in a way I am because it means joyful, and I am joyful. i will never turn my back on my people like some are accusing me, and Joy makes sure of that (thats my shiksas name), she makes me observe the Holy days, and studies them and the traditions, and reminds me when they approach. Through your blog my shiksa can learn jewish cooking and maybe a little more about the love in jewish culture we are a very loving and loyal people as a whole. i appreciate what you are doing and would like to welcome you into our family though you have been family since you converted. Take Care, happy anniversary, and hashem bless.

  8. Everyone loves soup! I no longer eat chicken or meat but I make a mean mock chicken soup. I’m going to make my own noodles this year, thanks to you. I’ll going to look for the Hawayej spice blend on my next trip to the Phoenicia Market.

    I learn a lot from reading your blog. Big thanks!

  9. Thank you for all the kudos!

    Joshua, your message is very moving. Thank you for taking the time to write.

    Limner, let me know how the veggie version turns out, I’d love to hear about it!

    Bill, not only is my mom beautiful, she’s brilliant! And the most amazing mom in the world – no contest. ;)

  10. Made this yesterday for dinner tonight. Not sure I got everything right the first time, but it turned out AMAZING! I gave the kids and hubby samples last night and they can’t wait to have it with mashed potatoes tonight. They’re already asking me to make it again!

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have *no* Jewish recipes from my Jewish family, so I’m adopting yours. :)

  11. Bravo Penny! I’m so happy you had a chance to try it and report back. It’s truly a favorite in our family. Serving it over mashed potatoes brings it to a whole new level of deliciousness. :)

  12. I am a big soup eater as was my family growing up now I am along but I will be making this wonderful looking chicken soup. I live on veggies and soups very little meat now but this will be the next one that i make (this week)

    Now I have a favor to ask: Do you have a receipt for chopped chicken livers? When I moved from Maine down here to Florida I lost it and the only thing I can find in my area is in Publix is frozen and it is terrible. I was very fortunate in Maine to live right across from a Jewish Deli the Full Belly Deli and that is the first place I head to when I go to ME the Rosens made the best chopped chicken livers you could ever ask for. You can go here on face book under Full Belly Deli and join in on their site if you care to. Thank you and God Bless you I also would prefer to get the receipts on my email if possible.
    betsy clarke or on facebook & myspace clarkie1941 also

  13. Just made the noodles to go into my Homemade Chicken soup, they are amazing. My husband and I loved them, I even had two bowls of the soup. My Grandmother made these noodles when I was a child and I remember helping her make them and now I finally found a good recipe I can make on my own, they remind me of helping her in the kitchen.

  14. 2-6-2011

    I love your web site because it is so nice to see that someone really cares about the jewish tradition and culture. You bring the greatest recipes on this web site and go step by step to make sure you do not miss anything.

    I thoroughly enjoy all the recipes you post and also give a history of each recipe you prepare and the origin of where it came from.

    I also enjoy the step by step pictures and the colorful pictures you also attach with your recipes.

    Even though I am not jewish you bring a sense of culture and organility to the recipe.

    Much continued success to your web site.

    Sincerely,

    Sandra Geraci

  15. Great recipe, beautiful presentation. I really love the plate; it looks good enough to eat also! Thanks for your site and I’m wishing you many more years in your endeavors!

  16. I just love your reciepes. But the history and your journey make it so special. I keep telling my friends about you as well. Happy Mother’s Day.

  17. Just happened on your blog and will now be checking it out regularly. Had to click on the Swedish Chicken & Noodles — a childhood favorite (minus the Swedish) that has continued to be a special treat throughout my life (now 71 years). BUT I’ve never made noodles from scratch, and now I want to! My mother made them until she discovered “convenience food” sometime in the 60s, I think. After that, forget anything truly homemade! Ha! Now of course I do just the opposite. Anyway . . . what I wanted to share is my childhood memory of her noodle drying process: Once the dough was rolled out, she would hang flour-sack dish towels over the backs of all the dining room chairs, and the sheets of noodle dough would be hung carefully over the towels. Picture it! I still can, more than six decades later, as clear as a photograph. As a child, I thought this was just the “normal” way to make noodles! And I assure you that IF I follow through with my plan to make your noodles, that is exactly how I will dry mine! Thanks so much for your stories; I, too, am a convert — not due to marriage, but just because it felt like the best fit for me. The only down sit to this path is that I have no Jewish family, and thus no food heritage. So I use books (and now, blogs) to try to create my own.

    1. Norma, your comment warms my heart. Thank you for sharing your childhood memory with us, I will try drying them that way next time! It might speed the process up a bit, because the noodles are more exposed to the air. Welcome to our cooking community! :)

  18. i LOVE swedish egg noodles with chicken! one of my favorite comfort foods. I’ve never tried making the noodles myself, but I think i just might have to give it a try now. My family will be so impressed!

  19. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! All four us liked it. Mine definitely had more liquid than yours but we ate it in bowls and there is plenty left over for lunch tomorrow

  20. Is it possible to reduce the salt in the noodles? Some of my family is on a limited sodium diet, and I was hoping they would also be able to enjoy the soup.

    1. Hi Rose– no problem, you can cut the salt. A lot of the flavor in this dish comes from the salt, so I wouldn’t omit it completely, but you can cut it in half and then salt the finished product to taste.

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