You can't beat a good hearty chicken casserole in the cold winter months. John Torode has created a classic recipe complete with tasty dumplings
6 chicken breasts, bone in, each cut into 3 pieces
3 tbsp plain flour
100ml vegetable oil
350g button onions, peeled, or 4 medium onions, peeled and cut into 8
200g smoked bacon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
300g flat mushrooms, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into hunks
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
375ml red wine
300ml chicken stock (page 20)
salt and pepper
350g self raising flour
150ml warm water
Heat the oven to 200°C (gas 6). Put the flour in a plastic bag and season with lots of salt and pepper. Drop the chicken into the flour and shake like mad to coat well.
In a large casserole, brown the chicken pieces over a high heat. Remove the chicken and reduce the heat.
Add the onions and bacon and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they are coloured and smell good. Add the garlic, then the mushies, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves and redcurrant jelly. Stir well.
Put the chook back in and stir to coat well. Pour in the wine and stock. Cover and bring to the boil then transfer the pot to the oven for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile for the dumplings, combine the suet, flour and a big pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the warm water, mixing to give a heavy dough. Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Take the casserole from the oven, drop the dumplings into it and return to the oven for a final 20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked.