Just a few simple and economical ingredients go together to make this hearty and warming chicken stew with dumplings which is perfect for a winter supper. You can add extra chopped vegetables such as swede, parsnips, leeks or potatoes to make it even more filling or add a handful of red split lentils or pearl barley (adding 150ml extra water). For herby dumplings stir 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives or parsley into the flour and suet mix. Serve the stew as soon as the dumplings are cooked as they will become heavy and soggy if left in the hot liquid for too long.
- 4 chicken portions, skinned
- 900ml water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 6 celery stalks chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
- For the dumplings:
- 100g self-raising flour
- 50g shredded suet
- ½tsp mustard powder
- Approx 5tbsp cold water
Place the chicken quarters in a large deep pan and add the water, bay leaf, onion, celery and carrots. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 45 mins until the chicken is very tender.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place the flour, suet, mustard powder and ¼ tsp of salt in a bowl. Stir in the water and mix to a soft dough. Divide and shape into 8 balls.
Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and using two forks pull the cooked flesh away from the bones. Return the chicken flesh to the pan with the parsley and gently drop the dumplings into the liquid. Cover and simmer for a further 15-20 mins until the dumplings have doubled in size. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve the stew in warmed bowls.
For light and fluffy dumplings, keep the lid tightly on the pan when they are cooking as it’s the hot steam which gently cooks them.