pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplingsrating:
Prep and cook – about 3 to 3.5 hours (depending on how long it takes to brown off the chicken!)
2 tbsp olive oil
12-15 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone in
200g smoked bacon lardoons or chopped bacon
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
3 leeks, chopped
200ml white wine
1 litre chicken stock
2 bay leaves
200g frozen peas
140g sundried tomatoes
small bunch basil, chopped
For the dumplings :
250g self-raising flour
100g Parmesan, grated
50g pine nuts
1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the chicken until golden on all sides – you might have to do this in batches – remove the chicken from the pan as you go and set aside.
2. Add the lardons to the pan and sizzle for a few mins, then add the onion, celery and leeks, and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 mins until the vegetables have softened. Stir in the flour, season and cook for a further 2 mins.
3. Gradually stir in the wine and allow it to bubble away, then stir in the stock. Return the chicken to the pan with the bay leaves and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is tender. The stew can now be cooled and frozen if you’re making ahead.
4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Add the peas, sundried tomatoes, pesto and basil to the stew.
5. To make the dumplings, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the grated cheese and add 150ml water, mixing with a cutlery knife to bring it together to form a light and sticky dough. Break off walnut-sized lumps and shape into balls
Roll the tops of the dumplings in the pine nuts so a few stick to the outside, then place the dumplings on top of the stew and scatter with any remaining nuts. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 25 mins until the dumplings are golden brown and cooked through.