Chicken casserole with herby dumplings
Bypass the suet and make lighter dumplings for this family-friendly one-pot stew
- 12 skinless chicken pieces - a mixture of thighs and drumsticks on the bone, and halved chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 200g bacon lardons, smoked or unsmoked, or streaky rashers, snipped
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- bottle of cheap red wine
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 140g cold butter, diced
- 250g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs - try parsley, thyme and sage or chives
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Toss the chicken pieces with the flour and some salt and pepper, to coat them – it’s easy to do this in a plastic food bag.
- Heat the oil in a casserole with a lid. Brown the chicken pieces well on all sides – you’ll need to do this in batches. Remove all the pieces to a plate, and tip the onions, carrot, lardons, bay and thyme into the pan. Cook gently for 10 mins until the onion is softened.
- Return the chicken pieces, with any juices that have collected on the plate. Then pour in the red wine and tomato paste and crumble in the stock cube. Add a splash of water if you need, until the chicken is almost covered. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 20 mins. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 mins while you make the dumplings.
- Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it feels like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the herbs with ½ tsp salt and some pepper. Drizzle over 150ml water, and stir in quickly with a cutlery knife to form a light dough. Use floured hands to shape into ping pong sized balls.
- Place the dumplings on top of the stew and bake for 20 mins more until the dumplings are cooked through.