If I want a big foody hug in the winter my go to recipe is chicken casserole with herby dumplings as it really hits the spot. Serves 6 but we shared between 4!
For the casserole:
- knob of butter
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1kg skinless chicken thighs
- packet of lardons or 6 slices streaky bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 2 turnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 large floury potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 pint chicken stock
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning or mixed herbs
- salt and pepper, to season
For the dumplings:
- 250g self raising flour
- 125g cold butter
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 100ml cold water
- Put the butter and oil in a frying pan or large sauté pan, add the chicken thighs and fry until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside on kitchen towel to drain.
- Add the bacon to the pan and fry until browned. Remove from the pan.
- Add the onion and leek and fry gently until softened. Next add the remaining vegetables and sauté gently on the simmer plate until just beginning to soften. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry.
- Pour on the stock, ad the dried herbs and season to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Cover and transfer to the bottom oven at around 85-100ºC. Cook from anywhere between 2 and 4 hours, it will simmer happily until you need it.
- Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place 250g of flour in a bowl. Add the butter, in cubes and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the Italian seasoning and coarsely ground black pepper.
- Stir in the cold water. Bring into a ball of dough. Divide into 12 smaller balls.
- 30 minutes before the stew is ready place the dumplings on the top and cook in the top oven at around 190ºC until golden brown.
- Serve with fresh greens, it’s particularly good with cabbage or peas.