Now that autumn is coming to an end I am pleased to be able to spend a Sunday afternoon cooking a roast dinner, and then come home on a Monday evening to a big bowl of stew and dumplings.
This is a very easy and adaptable recipe but you do need a the remnants of a roast chicken to help you along - this is where the flavour is. The day before I'd made the Zuni Cafe roast chicken recipe with the usual trimmings and most importantly a lovely gravy from the roasting tray.
We had lots of chicken leftover and also lots of gravy, the chicken was stuffed with thyme so there was lots and lots of flavour there. also the Zuni Cafe method (which is extremely popular, as you will see when you google it) ensures a chicken that is roasted with perfectly crisp skin and incredibly moist and tender meat - the latter very important for a stew.
Firstly I should apologise for the pictures, my new camera is doing a good job in artificial light but chicken stew is hard to make photogenic!
You will need:
Leftover chicken -shredded up
About 100ml of gravy
Approx 50ml chicken stock (I also made my own stock before making the stew rather than using a cube)
Carrots - about 2 medium ones
1/2 large white onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
Finely dice the carrot and onion and fry with olive oil in a casserole dish (or ovenproof dish with a lid) until the onions are nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
Add in the chicken and then the gravy and the stock - make sure the chicken is well covered.
Season and add a sprig or two of thyme - use less if you had a lot of herbs in the chicken when you originally roasted it.
Bring to the boil and then put in a medium oven with the lid on, cook for 20 minutes whilst you make the dumplings.
For the Dumplings
I've never really been a fan of dumplings, I always thought of them as being stodgy and cloying - this recipe is much different. It doesn't use a lot of flour and no suet - instead milk and cream are used to make light and fluffy dumplings with an almost mashed potato like quality. It is adapted from this recipe on Bread and Honey.
approx 60grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
thyme, sage, rosemary or any other herb you think goes!
100ml double cream
50mls semi skimmed milk.
Mix dry ingredients and herbs together and then slowly add in the cream and then the milk. You aren't aiming for a dough but a wet mixture that keeps its shape - does that make sense? You may find you need more or less milk, cream or flour - just add more or less to get your mixture right. If you add more flour make sure to add a little more baking powder.
When the stew has been cooking for 20mins take it out and spoon the dumplings over the top. Put the lid back on and cook for 20mins again. Take the lid off after 20mins and cook for another 5-10 to crisp up the dumplings slightly.
Serve in big bowls and try not to think about the wind and rain outside.