Pesto Chicken Stew with Cheesy Dumplings

This is one of my favourite recipes from BBC Good Food which I have made multiple times, and it never fails to warm you up on a cold day – it’s the ultimate Autumnal comfort food.

What’s also great is that you make it all in one big pot and any leftovers can be frozen for another night (I have been known to cook this recipe for 8 people for just myself and freeze the rest!)

Due to the fact I have made this recipe various times, I have tried different additions along the way, the most successful of which I will include below! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Ingredients (serves 8):

Dumplings:

  • 140g butter
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 150ml cold water
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (my addition)

Stew:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12-15 chicken thighs (with bone but no skin)
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons (I also like to use pancetta cubes as an alternative)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml white wine (I find a light wine such as a sauvignon blanc works best)
  • 1 litre good quality chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 140g sundried tomatoes
  • 140g fresh pesto (green pesto)
  • Small bunch of basil, chopped

Method:

I like to start by making the dumplings first, as then they can chill in the fridge until needed. Place the flour in a large bowl, and chop the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Then as if you were making a crumble topping, rub the flour and butter between your fingertips to resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Mix in the grated cheese and chopped basil and approximately 150ml of cold water, adding bit by bit whilst you mix with a cutlery knife until it all comes together to form a light dough, which is slightly sticky to the touch. Break off walnut sized pieces and roll into small balls and (after placing the pine nuts on a plate) roll in the pine nuts so they stick to the outside. Put all the dumplings on a cling filmed plate in the fridge.

Next, it’s time for the stew! Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and brown the chicken so all sides are golden. Due to the amount of the chicken I would advise doing this in a couple of batches, and setting aside in a separate bowl once browned. Once all the chicken is browned, leave to the side.

Next, add the bacon lardons (or pancetta cubes) to the casserole dish to crisp up, then add the onion, celery and leeks. Cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper, cooking for another couple of minutes.

Stir in the wine and allow to reduce slightly, then stir in the stock. Return the chicken thighs to the pan along with the bay leaves; cover the casserole dish with a lid. Reduce the heat so that the stew is gently simmering, and then leave to simmer for about 1.5 hours, or until the chicken is tender.

(Remove the dumplings from the fridge during the last 30 minutes of the stew’s cooking time, to allow them to come back up to room temperature.)

Heat the oven to 200 / 180 degrees celsius if fan oven. Add the peas, sundried tomatoes, pesto and basil to the stew, stirring everything in. Place the dumplings on top of the stew and scatter a few more pine nuts on top if you wish. Place the dish in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes until the dumplings are golden and cooked through.

pesto chick stew

I like to serve this dish with home made crusty bread to mop up the lovely juices!

As mentioned above, any leftovers can be portioned off and frozen for another day. Enjoy! 😀

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2 thoughts on “Pesto Chicken Stew with Cheesy Dumplings

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