Take Comfort in Chicken Stew

Recipe card

In these times of self-isolation and social distancing, nothing is better than a pot of home made stew. Except, my mother’s home made stew with my home made dumplings.

Now that many people are working from home or are forced to stay at home, I’d like to share with you the best comfort food I know. Enjoy!

To visualise the chicken stew and dumplings recipe

chicken stock

Prepare the stock the day before you make the stew.

ingredients

1 leftover roast chicken

1 onion, peeled and washed

1 carrot, peeled and washed

1 stick of celery, washed

4 or 5 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

method

  1. Pick the meat from the chicken and set aside.
  2. Put the chicken carcass in a large pot with a lid and add the onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and bayleaf.
  3. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
  4. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 hours or until the stock is reduced by half.
  5. Strain the stock into a bowl, cool and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. Pick over the chicken carcass again in case you missed any chicken the first time around, then discard the carcass and vegetables.
  7. The next day, skim off the excess fat that has settled on top of the stock.

Chicken Stew

The amount of ingredients are up to you – use as much or as little of anything as you like. I don’t need to tell you – peel and wash the vegetables before you prepare them.

Ingredients

Leftover chicken

Chicken stock (reserve 1/4 pint for the dried soup)

Sliced onion

Thick slices of diagonally cut carrot

Chunks of parsnip

Cubes of swede

frozen peas

Chickpeas / butterbeans / lentils (optional – Mum always adds one of the three, but I don’t)

1 packet of Country Vegetable dried soup (don’t ask me why, some things just are as they are)

A squeeze of tomato paste

A glass of white wine

1 tablespoon of seasoned flour

A good dash of dried oregano

1 bayleaf

salt

pepper

a little oil for frying

method

  1. Prepare the vegetables, as instructed in the ingredients.
  2. Fry the onions in a large pot with the oil and bayleaf, until soft.
  3. Add the carrots, parsnips and swede and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two, then add the seasoned flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
  5. Turn the heat up and add the white wine. Stir until the wine bubbles away.
  6. Slowly add the chicken stock, then the chicken, oregano, salt and pepper, and the chickpeas / butterbeans / lentils (if using them), stirring constantly.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.
  8. Slowly add the reserved stock to the dried soup, and mix to a smooth, pourable paste. Stir the soup paste into the stew, making sure there are no lumps.
  9. Add the frozen peas and bring back to a simmer.
  10. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  11. Add the dumplings, bring to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 1/2 an hour, turn the dumplings after 15 minutes.
  12. Serve with buttery mashed potato.

Dumplings

My recipe is based on the dumpling recipe in ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’.

ingredients

2 cups / 272 g  plain flour

2/3 cup / 5.3 fl oz  milk

1/2 cup / 4 fl oz  groundnut oil

3 tsp  baking soda

salt

pepper

lots of chopped fresh parsley and thyme

method

  1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and chopped herbs together.
  2. Add the milk and the oil, and stir to combine.
  3. Drop large spoonfuls of the dumpling mix into the stew. (They will expand!)
  4. Turn the dumplings after 15 minutes.

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