A Good Old-fashioned Chicken Casserole with Dumplings

With the temperatures plummeting and the first snow of winter arriving, a good old-fashioned chicken casserole is what’s needed to warm us from the inside out and this recipe will do just that!

Some people are put of cooking casseroles and stews, maybe because of the long slow cooking times but really they are perfect for using cheaper cuts of meat and can be made really cheaply.

When making anything with chicken I would urge anyone to buy a whole chicken and learn to join it yourself. It’s not difficult – there is a great video link here on our post about Making The Most Of A Chicken and the savings compared to buying ready jointed pieces are huge, you also have the carcass from which to make the most delicious stock. 

Casseroles are great to make on baking days too as they can sit happily bubbling away at the bottom of the oven while all of the other delicious things are baked higher up, making the most of the fuel that is being used.

Chicken Casserole with Dumplings
Serves 4
A good old-fashioned chicken casserole with fluffy dumplings
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  2. 4 Chicken Pieces - your choice but thighs are delicious - keep the skin on
  3. 1 Large Onion, sliced
  4. Mixture of Root Vegetables
  5. again your choice but I like to use these
  6. 2 medium Potatoes, cut into large cubes
  7. 4 Large Carrots, sliced into rings
  8. ½ Swede, cut into small cubes
  9. 1 Large Parsnip, cut into small cubes
  10. 85 g (3 oz) frozen peas
  11. 85 g (3 oz) frozen Sweetcorn
  12. 1 Tablespoon Plain Flour
  13. 1 Litre (1 ¾ pints) Chicken Stock (home made for preference!)
  14. Salt & Pepper
For The Dumplings
  1. 100 g (4 oz) Self raising Flour
  2. 1 level teaspoon Baking Powder
  3. 50 g (2 oz) Shredded Suet
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. Cold Water to mix
Instructions
  1. Turn on the oven to Gas 4 (180ºc). Heat the oil in a large oven proof casserole and add the chicken pieces, skin side down and fry quickly until nicely browned.
  2. Transfer the chicken from the pan to a plate and leave to one side while you add the onions to the casserole dish and fry them until they too are nicely browned.
  3. Add the root vegetables and fry for a few minutes until they just start to colour then stir in the plain flour. Continue to cook for a minute before adding the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring between additions. Start by adding small amounts of stock, stirring well until the mixture thickens then you can gradually add larger amounts. If you add all of the stock at once there is a chance you could end up with lumps!
  4. Finally, stir in the peas and sweetcorn, season well with plenty of salt and pepper to taste and place the chicken pieces back in the casserole.
  5. Bring to the boil, pop on the lid and place in the oven for at least a couple of hours. How long it takes will depend on where in the oven you place it to cook and how large you cut your root veg. Check the vegetables to make sure they are nice and tender before making and adding the dumplings.
For The Dumplings
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the suet and season with salt and pepper. Mix with just enough water to make a soft dough - it should be fairly soft but make sure it's not sticky.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 pieces, roll each one gently into a ball then pop them into your casserole to cook. They will take 25 minutes and should be well risen and super fluffy when they are cooked!
Notes
  1. This is a lovely plain and simple chicken casserole recipe but you can add more flavours by adding some herbs, either in the casserole itself or just in the dumplings...thyme works very well.
The Thrifty Squirrels http://thethriftysquirrels.co.uk/

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