Some background: I have been mostly vegetarian for fifteen years. During that time there have only been a few things that I missed eating - one of them was my Aunt Arlene's Chicken and Tough Noodles. This year I have made a few exceptions to my vegetarianism. I had some Christmas turkey for starters. Then a few weekends ago I made a trip to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, for a mini family reunion, AND to get a tutorial in making Chicken and Tough Noodles!
Here's the thing - you know how over time, your memory can kind of exaggerate the greatness of things from your childhood? The opposite was true of these noodles. They are pure heaven. Dense and almost chewy. The closest thing I can compare them to is spaetzle. The best part is that they are SUPPOSED to be tough, so you don't have to worry about over-working the dough!
I was hoping to try making a batch on my own before I did this post, but life has been interfering. However, my stepmom gave it a try the other day, and reported great success!
Here is the general gist, because of course, there was no recipe used:
Boil a whole chicken.
Save the stock; chill, then skim and discard the fat off the top.
Save the meat from the chicken.
Put an egg or two into a food processor. Add flour until a ball forms. If a ball is not forming, add a small amount of milk. Set dough aside and repeat - one egg's worth of dough will make approximately enough noodles for one person.
On a HEAVILY floured surface, roll out a ball of dough to approximately 1/8" thick. (The extra flour on the noodles will help thicken the sauce later.)
Sprinkle with flour, then roll the sheet of dough into a jellyroll shape. Slice off noodles at 1/4" increments.
Bring the stock to a simmer. Unroll noodles and drop into broth.
Add cream of chicken soup and/or chicken bouillon, depending on your mood, and what you have around. Add chicken. Simmer until done (I think about an hour? The longer you cook the noodles, the less tough they are.)
Eat, eat, and eat some more.
The final spread included Chicken and Tough Noodles, mashed potatoes, two kinds of jello salad, green bean casserole with onion topping (yay!), and green salad. Followed by chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting, which you will be hearing about at another date.
Eleven people, four dogs, and a cat squeezed into this house for Chicken and Tough Noodles!
The view of the Kootenai River from the downtown Bonners Ferry bridge: