Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Helen's Chicken Stew with Dumplings

Today's lunch:

Lahmacun bread brushed with a mix of butter and olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and topped with ingredients of choice:
  • cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, a sprinkling of Parmesan once out of oven
  • roasted garlic, thyme and Parmesan
  • goats cheese and thyme
  • goats cheese, rosemary, cherry tomatoes and chutney
  • salami and chorizo
  • grated cheese
  • roasted garlic and extra sea salt

Add any ingredients that take your fancy, making sure they can take 10 minutes in reasonably hot oven. These are also delicious for breakfast; you can add a tablespoon of sugar to the batter or not and/or topped with (after baking the buttered bread on it's own):
  • Nutella and banana
  • jam
  • fruit coulis
  • brown sugar mixed with cinnamon (bake this one in the oven)
  • cream cheese and smoked salmon

The goats cheese and chutney was amazing!

Last night, we had chicken stew with dumplings, the quickest, easiest dinner which looks like you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours. We were so happy at dinner last night, sat round the table chatting away, eating up every last bit, pressing the baby potatoes and dumplings into the last of the gravy, finished off with steaming mugs of tea. After the Scotch broth for lunch, the comfort food had certainly done it's job.

Helen's Quick and Easy Chicken Stew with Dumplings

Place into a pan the following:
A half bag of baby potatoes (around 3-5 per person)
One onion, chopped large
A few shallots, whole or halved
A carrot, chopped large
2 garlic cloves
Some sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
Half a tin plum tomatoes or a few fresh tomatoes
Any other root veg you have in the house, chopped large

Add to this a pint or enough to cover of light chicken gravy, home made or granules mixed with chicken stock. If using fresh tomatoes, add a good squeeze of tomato puree to the gravy. Add a little dash of white wine if you happen to have some open. The teabag-looking item was a bouquet garni packet I had left so I popped it in for that little bit of extra aromatic flavouring.

Bring to the boil and drop in chunks of chicken breast or thigh meat; chicken breasts into four, thighs into two. Stir, put on the lid, boil once more and then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Prepare dumplings by placing into a bowl the following:
100g/4oz self raising flour
2oz mature cheddar cheese
1oz Parmesan (if you don't want to use this, add another ounce of cheddar instead).
Quarter teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp mustard powder
Handful of either thyme or chopped parsley
Sprinkle salt and pepper

Mix and add a beaten egg and enough water to make a sticky dough. Don't mix too much, you want it lumpy. Form into little dumplings and pour over a little oil, rubbing gently to coat each ball. Place in fridge until five minutes before needed.

Put oven on to 200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 5.

Pour stew into an oven proof dish and top with dumplings. Bake in hot oven for around 15 minutes or until dumplings golden brown or a little darker on top, depending on taste.

The dumplings will expand and stick together which is just perfect; half are soaking up the gravy, the half sticking above the top are golden and crispy. Apply three greedy, hungry wee weans, one hungry big man and try to get to the table before they polish it off, leaving you a loan potato and a carrot.
I've had several phone calls, emails and texts asking me how I am; it's lovely that my friends take the time to do that but I find myself saying "I'm fine" even though I still feel poorly. Is it a mum thing, a Scottish thing or a woman thing that after 7 days of illness, I feel frustrated with my inability to get better quickly and I feel like such a fraud. Come on, flu, go already!

I want to walk up a hill, go shopping and take the kids swimming desperately. It's their holiday week; not that they've complained, I don't think they can quite believe their luck what with the jammies on for as long as they want, mum on tap, vid games, computer and dvds galore. It's been a nice week, considering.

Tomorrow, we plan to hit the cinema to see 'Up'; I'm hoping my coughing has subsided by then as I really want to see it and can't if all I'll end up doing is disturbing everyone around me. Tomorrow is another day, I could leap out of bed, restored and well! Karmic thoughts, people, karmic thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Yummy Dumplings. And sooo easy!

"Hope you are 100% better soon".

*Thanx for the comment*

~Amor, Familia Y Cultura~

mise said...

Karmic thoughts, along with admiring thoughts for those tempting-looking topped breads.

BakerGirl said...

All of that foods looks delicious!

stonebrookcottage said...

ohhh yummy! that looks so good. That stew..i am sick right now, so that looks delish!!!
stopping by from SITS

Unknown Mami said...

Helen, I think I'm falling in love.

Anna said...

i hope you are feeling much better!! that all looks so yummy & i wish i had some right now! :)
let's catch up soon!

Protege said...

The top bread looks like a bunch of small pizzas, what a great idea.;)

Little Ms Blogger said...

I want to come and eat at your house for a month. You make stuff I never do and it looks very yummy.

Stephanie Faris said...

Yummy. "Up" was a good movie. Is Nutella good? I haven't tried it yet but I keep hearing about it.

Grannymar said...

Interesting recipes, they make me hungry!

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Flu sucks! Thanks for stopping by. I have to follow because I love your blog!!

B said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love what you're doing here. Looking forward to reading more; when my Internet is fixed. Thank goodness for my iPhone!

Debbie said...

I sure hope you are continuing to feel better. That bread is incredible.

Anonymous said...

HI there! Thank you for stopping by my blog today. :)

I also was intrigued by your title of this blog. We have a family of six ... and we keep our groceries (weekly) to $85 USD or less....I'll be checking in to see what kind of cheapie recipes you put together!

gaelikaa said...

I'm thinking of turning over a new leaf and becoming a decent cook. I'll have to get an oven though! Your recipes are yummy.

Anonymous said...

Hi There! Thank you so much for visiting me yesterday on my SITS Day! U are deeply appreciated!

Anonymous said...

You know there are lots of ladies out there doing foodie type blogs but yours, in just the short time I've been visiting here, always appeals because you make everything look so delicious, interesting and easy. Lahmacum bread - there's something new for me to try.

Hope things are looking 'up' healthwise. ;)

The Blonde Duck said...

You can never go wrong with dumplings.

gaelikaa said...

Helen me darlin', I came to see your consortium post, but I'll come back tomorrow. I've been able to get the time difference write as there are two other members here in India, but sometimes a power failure can knock things out. Looking forward to reading your post....

Italo said...

Easy to make, but you know I'm hortodox! :D Too many things on them!

Helen McGinn said...

Thanks guys, feeling much better today...yippee!

Stephanie, Nutella is nectar from the gods and I don't even have a sweet tooth particularly.

gaelikaa, ah, I hated missing it yesterday. I was poised and at the ready but the net was down. Will start next week instead. :O)

Shelle said...

Helen i just made your dumplings and they were super yummy. this was the first timei'd attempted dumplings and i love dumplings but was hesitant to try them...(my yorkshire pudding was a flop years ago). I made a pot roast and followed your beef stew recipe, pretty much like mine but i always use the tomatoes. added a touch of sage, thyme & tarragon.