Sunday, 28 October 2012

Chicken stew with thyme dumplings

Think of this dish as a culinary Shrek; what it lacks in looks it makes up for with other charms. Tasty, delicious charms.

Apologies that posts are a bit here and there at the moment. As I have previously mentioned we are moving house very soon and it's thrown things somewhat off kilter. Not that I've put a single thing in a cardboard box yet, but there is lots of reading of important paperwork (looking at home furnishings on Etsy) and phone calls to builders (looking at home furnishings on Etsy) and YAWWWWWWWN, I JUST WANT TO DECORATE AND BUY PRETTY THINGS.  Did you know that there are still places in the world where your local church can demand you pay for their roof repairs? Well apparently they chuffing well can and we're moving to one of those places. This little heathen can barely afford repairs to her own house, thank you very much, let alone The House of God. These are the sorts of treats your solicitor sends you when you're buying a house.

So cooking has reduced to basic sustenance and a dependence on all things stewy, carby and comforting around here.  In my opinion, Chicken stew is just the epitome of Autumn cosiness.  You may disagree with me, but I won't listen. For me it conjures the same feelings as tomato soup when you're feeling a bit poorly, or fish and chips at the seaside when it's started to rain and you're all hiding in the car. And dumplings, holy hell, they're the food of lardy Kings, I tell you.

This was also a splendid opportunity to use the last of my meagre balcony crop: round carrots! Yes, they are meant to be round. Heritage variety, innit.

Tune in later this week, when I will be showing you how to make your very own (sugar) blue crystal meth. You all watch Breaking Bad, right? Let's hope so, otherwise shit's gonna get weird for you.

Chicken stew with dumplings (for two)
Two pieces of chicken per person (leg or thigh)
Slosh of oil
8 shallots
4 med carrots
4 cloves garlic
Sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
Glass of white wine
Pint chicken stock

For dumplings
50g suet
100g self-raising flour
1tsp thyme leaves

Brown your chicken off in the oil, in a heavy casserole dish. Once coloured, remove from the pan, then add in your shallots and garlic until softened. Return the chicken to the pan and add in the wine. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer.

In the meantime, make your dumplings. Mix the flour, suet, seasoning and thyme and add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Separate into dumplings and set to one side, on a floured surface.

Cook your stew for about an hour (check every 20 mins or so and add more stock if needed), till the stock has reduced to a nice gravy and the chicken is starting to come away from the bone. Add in your carrots and cook for another 10 mins, then dot the dumplings around the surface and cook for another 5 mins, until they have swelled up.

Serve with veg.

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