Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie! No, not in a pie pan or casserole with some sort sort of crust on top—it’s like soup or a stew. At least that was how my mother made chicken pot pie. She started with a big pot of broth with carrots, celery, and onions, along with bite-size pieces of chicken. Then she made the dough, I guess using flour, butter, and milk and rolled it out with a wooden rolling pin, not too thin. She would cut it into two-inch squares and drop the pieces, a few at a time, into the boiling broth. Delicious!
Mom made chicken and dumplings too. As far as I remember, everything was the same except she substituted dumplings for the squares. The dough must have had different ingredients because it was stickier and was dropped by tablespoons into the pot, producing light, puffy balls.
I hadn’t thought about these wonderful meals in years. The memories came while ordering lunch in a local restaurant. There were pictures on the menu, and one was labeled Chicken Pot Pie, but it looked like a pie. When I described Mom’s, my friends said they never thought pot pie could be “soupy.” Later, I was surprised others in St Augustine knew only of the pie or casserole versions. I finally realized it all depends on where someone grows up.
Google “Pennsylvania Dutch Pot Pie,” and the first thing you’ll see is a photo of exactly how Mom’s chicken pot pie looked.
Remembering the meals triggered other memories. Though she’s been gone thirteen years, I could see my mother clear as day standing in our old kitchen. Almost lost to time, I recalled my childhood feelings of being grown-up and competent when Mom, if not in a hurry to get dinner done, handed me the sharp knife so I could cut the squares.
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In 2016, I wrote and emailed this anecdote to my two sisters, my daughter, and my niece. My niece’s response was especially poignant. Melissa happened to be sleeping over the night her grandmother died (2003) in her sleep. Though Mom was receiving Hospice services, her death was unexpected. She lived alone, and her activities were limited only by shortness of breath. (My home was next door, a hundred yards away, so arrived at the house within minutes of my Melissa’s phone call.) With her permission—
HI Aunt Peggy,
This is nice. There is no pot pie like Mom-Mom’s. Bill orders the meal every now & then and when he does, Mom & I always talk about how much better we had it in Hbg.
Then I cried at the end of the story when I saw that it's been13 yrs without my Mom-Mom. I don't like to think of the time frame, because it makes me more sad knowing how long it's been. I try to think of it just as a few years. It helps me.
My attempt to replicate Mom's Pot Pie.