Danielle Andrews is a close friend of mine, she loves good food and as a result is great in the kitchen! I always look forward to visiting her in Nottingham as I know I’ll get a fresh home cooked meal. Convenience food seems all too easy when you live in a city, so I thought it would be great if she could share her recipes and encourage us to cook fresh meals to enjoy. She’ll be contributing once a month through a series of ‘Fresh recipes’, here’s her first one for you!
This is a simple recipe which I have taken from my Dad that is pure comfort to satisfy those taste buds during those dark and dreary months. By using a slow cooker you can prepare the night or morning before and leave to simmer whilst you are at work or out for the day. Even though we are heading into spring, this type of recipe can be adapted with spring vegetables such as artichokes, leaks, baby carrots and peas. I have to say it is one of my personal favourites as it fills you up with healthy vegetables and it has proved popular when entertaining friends as a good home cooked meal.
For the Stew:
- 3 Chicken Breasts
- 2 Chicken Stock Cubes
- 2 Potatoes
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Leak
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 2 Parsnips
- 1 Onion
- 8 – 10 Mushrooms
- Cornflour for thickening
For the Dumplings
- 45g shredded Vegetable Suet
- 100g Self Raising Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 75 ml of cold water
Method (using a slow cooker)
For the Stew:
1) Trim the ends off your Leak and chop into 1 cm slices.
2) Peel and chop your potatoes, carrots and parsnips into small chunks.
3) Peel and roughly chop the onion.
4) Chop your mushrooms into halves.
5) Put all the vegetables into the Slow Cooker.
6) Chop your chicken into square chunks and fry off in a frying pan either by using Olive Oil or a small amount of water which will steam the chicken through.
7) When the chicken is cooked through add it to the Slow Cooker.
8 ) Add the stock cubes to 1 pint of boiling water and mix until dissolved.
9) Pour the chicken stock over the vegetables and chicken and top up with cold water until the liquid covers it all.
10) Give it a good stir, then season with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
11) Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 – 8 hours.
Method (using a casserole dish)
If you don’t have a slow cooker and would like to adapt this recipe to use a casserole dish, follow steps 1 -4 then add these simple steps:
1) Sauté your chopped vegetables (minus the mushrooms) in a little olive oil on the hob for 5 minutes.
2) Add the vegetable and mushrooms to your casserole dish along with the cooked chicken and stock, topping up with water if needed.
3) Cook in the oven on 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 1hr 30 to 2 hours.
For the Dumplings:
1) Put your flour and suet into the mixing bowl.
2) Add your cold water and salt and stir.
3) Divide the dough into 8 pieces and gently roll each into a round dumpling.
4) Place the dumplings on top of your fully cooked stew and press down lightly so that they’re half submerged.
5) Cook with the lid on for 20 minutes.
Before serving you may need to thicken the gravy with corn flour and water. Add a heaped table spoon of corn flour into a cup, add water and stir until it makes a paste. Add this slowly to the stew and stir until it’s thickened to your liking.
Looks delicious! Thanks Danielle! Hope you all enjoy trying this recipe out!