- Prep: 20 min
- Cook: 1 hr
- Portions: 6-8
- 1 whole chicken, (1.8kg)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 350g unsliced rindless streaky bacon, cut into 1–2cm
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, cut into 2cm slices on the diagonal
- 700ml chicken or vegetable stock
- a few sprigs thyme
For the dumplings:
- 350g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 300 ml buttermilk or soured milk
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley thyme, rosemary or chives
- 25g cheddar cheese, finely grated
Let's Get Started
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Remove the breasts from the chicken and cut them in half. Remove the leg portions and divide them into thighs and drumsticks. This will give you eight pieces of chicken. Season them well.
Pour the oil into a large casserole dish on a high heat, add the bacon and fry quickly for 1–2 minutes or until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the chicken in batches and sear on each side until golden, and remove. Add the onion and carrots and fry for 2–3 minutes or until golden.
Return the bacon and chicken to the dish, pour on the stock, add the thyme and season well. Bring slowly to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
For the dumplings Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl add the herbs, mix, then make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the buttermilk or soured milk (leaving about 50ml out). Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary. Don’t knead the mixture or it will become too heavy. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky.
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and bring together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 2cm thick. cut or divide the dough into 10–12 small balls.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and turn the heat up to 230C/gas 8. Arrange the dumplings on top, leaving a slight gap between them to allow for spreading. Scatter with the cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 200C/Gas 6 and cook for a further 20 minutes until the dumplings are crisp and golden and the chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool.
Divide up into suitable portions with a couple dumplings in each and freeze down. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw slowly in a fridge or cooler bag. Heat in microwave until piping hot throughout.
This recipe is part of our working lunch recipe series, suggesting easy meals that can be prepared in bulk and frozen for when you want them.
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