Monday, 12 October 2009

... chicken stew for the soul.

Tomorrow is the first of my two 5am starts for this week, and for some reason, It makes me feel prepared to have had a hearty home cooked meal the night before. My job, though not difficult, is fairly active, so I think I am just stocking up like a camel! I also know that by the time I get home tomorrow, I will be exhausted and won't want to cook, so I like to know that I've made a nice meal for Dave and I, as he will be cooking tomorrow(on a tangent here, the other meat we have is mince, which means Dave might make his chilli tomorrow! Excited!). It may seem very old fashioned, but I am proud of the fact that I cook dinner most days. On days like this when its cold, you need something homely and filling, and that's exactly what this recipe is!

A long time ago, I was looking for a recipe which used chicken as the main ingredients. I had been reading Smitten Kitchen for a while, and knew that Deb would provide something I could work from! The thing I love about her recipes is often, you can adjust them for what you have at home as long as you have the key ingredients. I found her recipe for Chicken and Leeks with Dumplings, and I had to make it. The dumpling recipe I use with it is an amalgamation of the ones my mum taught me to make, and ones I found in a seasonal cookbook.

This recipe have become a family, and by family I mean Dave and Lisa, favourite. We have it often, and its always filling and warming(and very cheap to make). It's getting ever cold here in Dundee, and it is now that recipes like that show their value! As I said, my mum taught me to make dumplings, and they are a sign of the season for me(on another tangent, they are really good with beef stew as well). This stew will be made alot through autumn and winter, to keep us warm(our heating is electric, I don't like switching it on, call me stingy if you want) and fill our tummies. If you want to fill your tummies and heat yourself up too, read on!

Chicken and Leeks with Herby Dumplings (for 2)
(Stew adapted from recipe by Deb, dumplings from my mum and 101 Seasonal Treats by Olive)

For Stew
2 breast of chicken (chopped into small pieces)
tsp olive oil
tsp butter
1 leek
half an onion
half a tbsp flour
tbsp red wine vinegar
4cups chicken stock
tbsp milk
1 and a half tbsp herbs (I am using 1 of parsely and half of sage, the recipe suggests thyme)
2 bay leaves
pink of salt

For Dumplings
35g butter (in blobs)
75g self-raising flour
half a small grated onion
tsp herbs
few twists of black pepper
warm water

  • I make the dumplings first so that they are ready to drop in when its time
  • mix together all but the water, squashing with fingers
  • when combined, ad water a desserspoonful at a time to make a soft, sticky dough (should take between 2 and three)
  • break into 6 small rough ball shapes
  • heat the oil in a pan
  • add chicken and brown
  • remove chicken from pan, leaving oil
  • add butter and melt in
  • add leeks, onions and salt and cook till soft
  • add flour and herbs, stirring flour is absorbed
  • whisk in wine
  • add broth, milk and bay leaf
  • add chicken and simmer for half an hour
  • drop dumpling onto the top of the stew, place lid on pan, and cook for half an hour.
  • serve in a bowl(the sauce is quite runny) and eat!

Whe you see what it looks like in the pot, you don't expect this end result!

This is lovely with white wine, or some nice blonde beer, or if you really need warming up, a cup of tea! It's also a one pot thing, wich is a bonus of you ask me(our sink is tiny, a normal load of dishes takes me two loads to do)!

Psst, I may or may not be following this up with chocolate cake at this very moment!


julochka said...

that looks delicious and like the best comfort food. and i think leeks were sent from heaven. will try this the next time someone is feeling a bit under the weather around here! :-)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow - that looks delicious. I love comfort food like that!!