For me and my family, 2020 has been the year of comfort food, most of which come from old family recipes. Weeknight dinners have regularly featured baked casseroles, hearty soups and stews from the slow cooker, and creamy pasta with beef or chicken and homemade bread. This is our love language—delicious, home-cooked meals.
One of my go-to dishes this year has been my mother-in-law’s beef and noodles. This dish is a Midwest staple, and it’s one of our absolute favorites. Does it take a little time and effort? Yes, it does. But the results are absolutely worth it.
Beef and Noodles the Midwestern Way
Beef and noodles—the Midwestern way—is almost a stew, but not quite. It features homemade thin, soft egg noodles that you cook in a rich, savory beefy broth with pieces of delicious chuck roast.
To add to the carbo-load, we usually serve it over mashed potatoes with a side dish of buttered peas and hot rolls. We make no apologies for the carbs and calories in this dish because it’s mouth-wateringly delicious. As I said, 2020 was the year of comfort food.
The Must-Have Kitchen Gadget for Homemade Noodles
Before we get to the recipe, I must point out that there is a gadget that any Beef & Noodles maker must have in their kitchen. You can try to make this recipe without it, but you will most likely end up with a glob of thick, sticky noodles.
I’m talking about a pastry cloth. Not to be confused with a silicone baking mat, a pastry cloth is a thick linen canvas cloth that is the EXACT thing you need for rolling out noodles. Actually, it’s the best possible tool you can have to roll out any kind of dough, from biscuits to pastries.
My Mother-in-Law’s Beef and Noodles
- 3 pound beef chuck roast
- 1 package dry onion soup mix
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon (or less depending on your taste) black pepper
- 10 cups water
- Slow cooker
Cut the beef chuck roast into cubes and brown in a little vegetable oil.
Add the soup mix, granulated garlic, black pepper, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the meat shreds easily with a fork, usually 2-3 hours. Set aside until you are ready to cook the noodles.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk
- Large mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Pastry cloth
- Pizza cutter or knife
Mix all ingredients until you form a dough.
Roll out the dough on the pastry cloth, making sure to cover the entire surface of the cloth. The dough will be approximately 1/4-inch thick.
Cover with a towel and allow to dry for 3 hours.
From here you can roll up the dough jelly roll style and slice into 1/4-inch thin long noodles. We prefer them wide and short. How you cut them is completely up to you.
Spread the cut noodles out and allow to dry for another 2 hours.
When you are ready to cook, bring the beefy broth up to a boil and add you noodles. Cook for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through.
When the noodles are cooked, I move it to a slow cooker with a warm setting until you are ready to eat.
Serve over mashed potatoes.
- Choose a two-to-three-pound beef chuck roast, then cut into 1/2-inch bits.
- You can also use an Instant Pot to cook the beef. Pressure cook for one hour with a natural release, then transfer to a larger soup pot or Dutch oven. An Instant Pot just won’t finish the dish.
- When making the noodles, your mixture of flour, salt, and eggs will be dry and crumbly
- When you add the milk, start with a 1/4 cup, then add more milk one tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to look like dough
- Roll the dough out into a large rectangle that extends to the edges of the pastry cloth. You want it to be thin, less than a 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle flour as needed to make sure the rolling pin doesn’t stick.
- Let the noodles dry for several hours. You want them dry, but not stiff.
Sides and Alternatives
Beef and Noodles is usually served over mashed potatoes (yes, it’s a delicious carbo load), and a popular side dish is buttery peas. Another popular side dish is a St. Louis-style green salad with a Parmesan vinaigrette like the one they serve at Rich and Charlie’s. If you have leftovers, just remember that the noodles will continue to absorb the broth overnight. When you reheat the next day, the Beef and Noodles will be much thicker.
Also, if you’d rather have chicken with noodles as an alternative, try out the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s delicious take on Homemade Chicken and Noodles.
There you have it—a delicious recipe for a popular Midwest comfort food. This dish will make your family’s bellies very full and happy.