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I love a good a good stew on a Winter’s eve. There’s nothing better than a hearty chicken and vegetable stew filled with dumplings. This is also a great recipe to use up any leftover chicken or turkey you have lying around. Forget the sandwiches and sort yourself out a great big stew. I’m a big fan of dumplings, especially if they come swimming in gravy. At first I thought you couldn’t make dumplings without suet so I got a box sent from home. However I since tried the same recipe with ice cold grated butter and they worked just as well.  This is going to be one of my favourite dinners for quite some time to come as it’s so cheap,easy and tasty.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken cut up into 4-6 pieces

1 large onion

1 large carrot

5 cloves of garlic

4 potatoes

1 courgette

1 bay leaf

1.5-2 litres of chicken stock

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

7-8 mushrooms

A glass or 2 of wine (optional)

Dumplings

200g of all purpose flour

100g of butter (ice cold)

5-7  tablespoons of ice cold water

1 teaspoon of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of sage

A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Cut your chicken into 4- 6 pieces then coat in seasoned flour and fry in a little oil  for a few minutes until it has browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and throw in the chopped onion and garlic. Fry for about 5 minutes or until translucent then add the chopped carrot to the pan and cook for a further two minutes. Put the chicken, carrots, onions, and garlic into a large saucepan then top with the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Meanwhile chop the potatoes into chunks then add them to pot once the stock is simmering. Add a bay leaf and a tablespoon of mixed herbs and a little pepper. Throw in a glass of wine if you have some lying around, red or white is fine. Leave to cook on a low simmer with a lid on top for about 2 hours. Make sure the chicken is covered in the stock. After about an hour you can add the chopped courgette and mushrooms.

To make the dumplings mix the herbs, salt, pepper, and flour together and then grate the butter into the flour. Gently mix it together. Add the cold water a spoon at a time and very softly bring it together in to a loose dough. Do not work it into a ball, keep it loose then break off lumps and roll them gently to form balls. Add them to the top of the  stew, then cook for another 20 minutes. The gravy may be a bit watery so mix two or three tablespoons of cornflour or flour in a bowl with about a cup of the stock. Mix it thoroughly before adding it back into the pot to let it thicken. Serve by itself or with extra green vegetables.  Voilà a Winter warming stew.

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