Chicken and Tenderstem Casserole with Herby Cheddar Dumplings

  • Preparation Time25 mins
  • Cooking Time60 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the casserole

2 tbsp olive oil
200g unsmoked lardons or pancetta, diced
8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper to season
4 shallots (or 6 if they are small), peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, sliced into 1cm pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1cm pieces
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato puree
500ml chicken stock
200g Tenderstem broccoli, each stalk cut into 2

For the dumplings

100g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
140g butter, cubed
100g mature cheddar, finely grated
1 tsp dried thyme
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas mark 4.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large casserole over a low heat and add the lardons or pancetta. Cook until they are golden and slightly crunchy. Remove from the casserole dish with a slotted spoon and sit on a piece of kitchen paper.

Toss the chicken in the flour and season well with salt and pepper. This can either be done in a bowl or, to make the job really easy, toss together in a large freezer bag. Add to the casserole dish and fry over a high heat until browned all over. Remove from the casserole and then add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.

Add the shallots, celery and carrot and cook for a few minutes until the shallots are softened, then return the lardons and chicken to the casserole, along with the bay leaf, tomato puree and chicken stock. Stir to mix everything together, and then bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30- 40 minutes.

While the casserole is cooking you can prepare the dumplings. Place the flour, breadcrumbs and butter in a food processor and blitz to a crumb consistency. Add the cheese, thyme, eggs and seasoning. Briefly blitz until the mixture forms a fairly moist dough. Using floured hands, shape the dough into 12 even sized balls.

After 30 minutes of cooking the casserole, remove from the oven and stir in the Tenderstem. Sit the dumplings on top and return the casserole to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, without the lid this time, until the dumplings are lightly and golden. Serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of Tenderstem Broccoli

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