Sunday, 11 December 2011

Warming Food for Cold Days

The weather has been cold, wet and horrible; which just puts me in the mood for warming and hearty food. So let me introduce you to Chicken Casserole and Dumplings. It's also pretty damn easy to make.

Ingredients for 4 Hungry People:

For Casserole
1 Large Leek
2 Parsnips
2 Carrots
Half a Celeriac
5 Mushrooms
1 400g Tin of Tomatoes
8 Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Plain Flour
Salt/Pepper

For Dumplings
200g Self Raising Flour
70g Vegetable Suet
1 Tsp Mixed Herbs
Salt/Pepper


Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190 oC/375 oF. Wash and slice the leek, both white and green parts, the long cooking makes it all tender.

Peel and chop the root vegetables into 1-1.5 cm dice. You don't have to use these vegetables, it's just what I had to hand. Also great would be, swede, turnip, jerusalem artichoke, sweet potato, I wouldn't use potato as they tend to turn to mush.

Quarter the mushrooms and remove the skin from the chicken portions.
Heat a large casserole (with a lid) on the hob and add the olive oil, gently fry the vegetables for 5 minutes with a little salt and pepper. Add the plain flour and stir it in well. Add the tinned tomatoes and then 1 tin full of hot water. Finally add the chicken portions and try to submerge them in the liquid. Heat on the hob until it is bubbling, then put on the lid and put in the oven for an initial 1 and a half hours. Now go and snuggle up on the sofa and keep warm, or as we did today go to a cold and wet Sharrowvale Market.

Now for the dumplings. Put the self raising flour, suet, herbs and seasoning in a bowl and mix together. Add enough cold water to make a soft slightly sticky dough. Spoon golf ball sized portions on top of the casserole, then return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, this time with the lid off.

Serve up to hungry people, all that will be left is the bones.

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