I love starchy foods.
It conjures memories from childhood. My mom Hope told me that as a small tot I sat on my dad Brian’s lap and nibbled on his toast. As I grew older, I would steal a slice off a stack of toast next to his plate at dinner.
Bread was a dinner table staple on a rural Buffalo County Farm. And so were potatoes, my favorite food and greatest nemesis when it comes to my waistline. I love them any way you can make them — fried, mashed, baked, twice baked or hashed and covered in dairy.
So when someone recently asked me what is my favorite comfort food, I thought of the farm-style dish with layers of starch — mashed potatoes smothered with homemade chicken or beef and noodle soup.
For people who didn’t grow up on a farm or in a farm family, you may not have ever heard of this food combination. You may think it’s weird or a little gross. Trust me it’s not.
The juice from the soup acts as a gravy. The chunks of meat and the homemade egg noodles add a level of texture on top of the fluffy potatoes.
I first tried the flavor combination at my Kucera grandparents’ rural Sherman County farm when I was a young girl. The hearty meal stretched far among my numerous cousins at a noon meal, or dinner in farm-terms. It also filled my Grandpa Carl and Uncle Frank’s bellies and energized them for the afternoon after hours of physical work on the farm.
Grandma Grace didn’t skimp on the ingredients either. She mashed the potatoes and prepared egg noodles from scratch. There was nothing instant about it.
It had been many years since eating this carb-laden meal, but for sentimentality’s sake, I asked my mom to make beef and noodle soup and mashed potatoes. Of course, she shared it at a church potluck to try to save me from the extra calories. But before she left, I made a bowl for myself. Sorry, Mom.
On the bright side, Mom, you made a meal just as good as what grandma used to make. Nice work.
Mama Hope’s Beef and Noodles Recipe
Makes about 1 ½ pounds of noodles
3 cups of bread flour
1 ½ Tsp. of salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
9 Tbsp. water
Put 2 ½ cups of flour in a bowl with salt.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix the ingredients with a fork until a ball forms. It will be gooey, so put more flour on a board. Work in ingredients and kneed for about five minutes.
Cover and rest for 45 minutes.
Flour surface of pastry sheet. Cut dough in fourths and roll each section into a circle until almost paper thin or desired thickness.
Set rolled-out dough on wax paper for 30-45 minutes.
Roll dough into a tube. Cut into slices and unroll each slice onto wax paper and sprinkle with more flour.
Allow to sit until noodles are completely dry. It may take two to three hours to dry.
3 pounds of beef chuck roast
1 quartered onion
1 small green bell pepper, quartered and seeded
2 large cleaned carrots
3 celery ribs
½ Tsp. black pepper
Place the roast in a large baking pan.
Cover the roast with 3 quarts of hot water. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of salt in water.
Cook the beef roast in a 325-degree oven for three hours.
Take meat out and strain liquid from vegetables. Chop carrot and save for later.
Cut meat into cubes once it has cooled.
Pour broth into a large pot. Add ½ Tsp. of black pepper and beef bullion cubes to flavor.
Slowly add noodles to simmering beef broth. Cook for five to seven minutes or until tender.
Add chopped carrot and beef to soup mixture.