Spring Chicken Stew with Herb Dumplings

Sometimes I think know everything when it comes to food and eating. This is one of those recipes that I thought might not be very tasty, due to the simplicity of ingredients. But I love it when I’m wrong, because it means I’m learning new things. This recipe is from the April issue of the Waitrose food magazine, which I always read. I only ever try one or two recipes each month, because I’ve been disappointed in the past with bland results. But sometimes the photo looks so good I can’t help but try it.

I’ve made this 3 times now. And everytime is a winner. I added white wine to recipe, because it adds another layer of flavour… I also cook twice the amount of chicken they recommend. Who has one chicken thigh for dinner? Besides, you’ll want left overs. I wouldn’t recommend using skinless, boneless thighs because you won’t get the flavour you need for a simple dish like this. Fry the chicken with the skin on, the fat renders out and you can then saute your vegetables in that lovely, tasty chicken fat. Taking the time to brown the chicken properly is the key to success with this meal.

I also wouldn’t recommend putting in green beans, as I did the first time I made it. They crowd the pan a bit too much, and you’re better off steaming any extra veg in a separate pot. You can also serve this up with mashed potatoes, like I do when I serve it to the family. This recipe has my hearty approval. You won’t be disappointed.

Spring Chicken Stew with Herb Dumplings Recipe


1kg chicken thighs (with skin, on bone)
2 x carrots, cut into chunks
1 x bunch salad onions, or 1 leek roughly chopped
2 x garlic cloves, sliced
2 x tbsp thyme leaves
1 x chicken stock pod (or 750ml stock)
1/2 cup white wine
3 tsp mustard (German)
50g suet
100g SR flour
small handful of parsley, finely chopped
frozen petits pois


Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Heat the oil in a flame-proof casserole dish over a medium-high heat, add the chicken and brown well (about 10-12 minutes).
Transfer the chicken to a plate and when cool enough, remove the skin. You might need to remove some of the rendered chicken fat also, there’s quite a lot…
Put the carrots, onions, garlic and the thyme into the nice hot chicken fat, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Pour in the water and pod/stock and add the browned chicken and 2 tsp mustard; season and bring to the boil. Cover, then put in the oven for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and easily comes away from the bone.

While the stew is in the over, make the dumplings. Mix the suet, flour, parsley and remaining thyme in a bowl; season. Mix in the remaining 1 tsp mustard and enough water (about 50ml) to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Divide the dumpling dough into 8 roughly-shaped balls, then gently drop into the stew. Cover and bake for a further 20 minutes. Then scatter the petits pois between the dumplings, and return to the oven, uncovered, for a final 5 minutes.