COOKING WITH THE CHARLES: Chicken and pesto stew

Chicken and pesto stew
Chicken and pesto stew

This week’s recipe is another winter warmer but with an Italian twist! It is essentially a chicken stew but by adding a few Italian touches you can turn this humble dish into a meal fit for a dinner party.

Making your dumplings with parmesan cheese and topping with pine nuts adds a real texture and really transforms a midweek meal.

Jean, Dan and Betty

Jean, Dan and Betty

STEW

○ 2 tbsp olive oil

○ 12 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless

○ 200g smoked bacon,chopped

○ 1 large onion

○ 4 celery sticks. chopped

○ 3 leeks, chopped

○ 4 tbsp plain flour

○ 200ml white wine

○ 1ltr chicken stock

○ 2 bay leaves

○ 200g frozen peas

○ 140g sundried tomatoes

○ 140g green pesto

○ Small bunch basil, chopped

DUMPLINGS

○ 140g butter

○ 250g self-raising flour

○ 100g grated parmesan

○ 50g pine nuts

METHOD

○ 1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the chicken until golden on all sides, remove the chicken from the pan as you go and set aside.

○ 2. Add the bacon to the pan and sizzle for a few minutes, then add the onion, celery and leeks, and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Stir in the flour, season and cook for a further two minutes.

○ 3. Gradually stir in the wine and allow it to bubble away, stir in the stock. Return the chicken to the pan with the bay leaves and cover with a lid. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1½ hours or until the chicken is tender.

○ 4. Heat oven to 200C. Add the peas, sundried tomatoes, pesto and basil to the stew. To make the dumplings, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix in the grated cheese and add 150ml water, mixing with a knife to bring the crumbs together to form a light and sticky dough. Break off walnut-sized lumps and shape into small balls. Roll in the pine then place the dumplings on top of the stew and bake for 25 minutes.

PS: We’d like to wish our niece Alice a happy birthday for yesterday!