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Chicken Stew

For lunch today we made Chicken Stew with Dumplings.  I say ‘American style’ because I found the recipe via Tasty Kitchen, which is an American-based recipe website, and because the dumplings aren’t like any I’ve made before.

The original recipe was more of a thick soup than a stew, but I have amended it slightly to make it into more of a stew than a soup.  For the original recipe see here.  For my version see below.

Chicken Stew

It must be said that on eating this dish it should be issued with a health warning.  This is incredibly rich, especially the dumplings.  It is tasty, but you can feel your heart slowing, your eyelids lowering, and a deep haze of sleep creeping over you. 

My advice would be to substitute most of the cream in the dumplings for water – I can’t imagine it would ruin them, but it would make the whole dish altogether more enjoyable.  For our tastes, this recipe is just a bit too much.

Maybe this recipe should be renamed Death by Dumplings…

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew with Dumplings ‘American style’

Serves 3-4

The chicken stew
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces with skin left on (breasts, wings, leg and thighs)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 litre of chicken stock
1-2 bay leaves
Couple of sprigs of thyme
1/4 tsp turmeric
Plain flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

The dumplings
200g plain flour
60g cornmeal or polenta
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
284ml double cream
Dash of water

First things first.  Season some plain flour with salt and pepper and dunk in each piece of chicken to coat.  In a large pan, fry the chicken pieces in hot oil until golden brown on both sides – start with skin side down first.  Remove to a plate.

Golden chicken

Add the chopped onion to the oil (ours got a little singed so we removed the burnt flour first and replaced some of the oil).  Cook for a minute or two until softened. 

Chopped onion

Add the chopped celery and carrot, the bay leaves, thyme, turmeric, and salt and pepper. 

Chopped Celery and Carrot

Cook for another couple of minutes.

Saute vegetables

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.  In a small dish mix a couple of teaspoons of cornflour with a little water and mix to get rid of any lumps.  Add this mixture into the pot and stir in. 

Chicken Stew

Next add the chicken pieces and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes. 

At this point you can remove the chicken to a plate and turn up the heat to a boil to start to thicken your sauce.  Do this until it’s at the consistency you want.

Chicken Stew

In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dumplings – plain flour, polenta, baking powder and salt. 

Add the double cream and mix well.  You just want to mix the ingredients to a sticky dough – you can always add a splash of water if you need to loosen it a little.


Spoon the dumpling mixture into the stew and cover with a lid.  About 12 minutes should cook them – they will fluff up – in our case rather too much (see below for what ours looked like!). 

Fluffy dumplings

Take your serving plates and arrange a couple of pieces of chicken on each.  Spoon out a dumpling or two and finally a generous helping of the stew liquid.  Sprinkle over some parsley and eat. 

Chicken Stew

I feel like I need to go and sleep off this meal for the rest of the afternoon…


Chicken Stew


So…the long promised Mother’s Day lunch.  I think I even managed to scrape by as the serene hostess I was aspiring to – by 10.30am I had prepped ALL my vegetables, the pie was made bar the pastry top, and I was nearly ready to ice my cake.  Things I nearly slipped up on: almost completely forgot about my soup starter (eek!); forgot to take the butter out of the fridge to soften for my icing, so reluctantly had to shove it in the oven on a very low temperature; and we didn’t have any nibbles.  Otherwise, I think it was a success – I was especially pleased with my pie.

For starters we had a bowl of pea soup – which is one of my storecupboard favourites and is dead easy to make.  Simply bung a load of frozen peas (!! I know, frozen, but they taste great and there’s no way I would sacrifice freshly podded peas from the garden to soup, they rarely make it as far as the kitchen anyway) into a saucepan – if you want to measure your peas out, a good way to do this would measure them into your soup bowls to the level you would like the soup.  Crumble an organic chicken stock cube (I know…another cheats item, but this is a storecupboard recipe and sometimes we all need a night off) over the peas and pour over boiling water, just enough to cover the peas.  Bring to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes.  Turn the heat off, blitz up the peas – the longer you blitz the smoother the soup (I feel it tastes better as smooth as possible).  Mix a spoonful of natural yohurt in to give a subtly creamy hint and season to taste with salt and pepper.  I served our soup topped with a garnish of sunflower seed sprouts, which was a bit ponsy, and quite difficult to eat.  N’s mom described it as ‘spaghetti’.  Not quite what I was going for…  Next time I would probably opt for some chopped parsley.

pea soup

pea soup

For mains I created a chicken pie.  Pie was perfect as it gave me a better chance to be a more visible hostess, rather than the one previously described waving from the kitchen door as our family arrived.  I had looked at so many chicken pies recipes, but none I really wanted to make.  Menus seem to come upon me, from nowhere, just a lot of thinking and looking at what’s available at the grocers or markets, and then it suddenly all makes sense.  So the ‘spring’ part of this chicken pie came from the vibrant greens that are at my local shops at the moment.  Spring greens, savoy cabbages, leeks, kale, and the first of the French parsley.  What I envisionaged was a chicken pie that was bursting with greeness that is filling the hedgerows and lanes as we progress into Spring.

You can find the recipe for how to make my Spring Chicken Pie here.

honey and walnut cake
honey and walnut cake

And finally, for dessert we had a honey and walnut cake with a lemon frosting.  This was a deep golden coloured cake, that was flecked with walnut.  I changed a recipe for a plain honey cake, initially wanting to add some lavender to it, but discovered that my lavender was out of date and had lost its smell.  Instead I used some walnuts that I chopped up quite finely as N is not a nut fan.  The cake really needs the lemon juice in the frosting otherwise it’s way too sweet – or maybe you have a super sweet tooth and then it would be fine.  But the lemon frosting adds a really nice dimension to the cake.  I decorated our cake with lilac hyacinth flowers and minature daffodil heads.  Sadly they weren’t edible, but soon the viola’s and heartease will be flowering and I can make you a cake with edible flowers, which is truly stunning.  I will post the honey and walnut cake in a future posting, so be sure to check back soon if you fancy making it yourself.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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