Chicken, leek and pearl barley stew with parsley dumplings
- February 2012
- Serves 6
- Takes 25 minutes to make, 2 hours 10 minutes to cook, plus resting
This stew is the perfect winter warmer. The herb dumplings and pearl barley mean you don’t need any other accompaniments. A big bowl of this is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face.
- 23.1g (11.3g saturated)
- 44.3g (10.8g sugars)
- 1.25-1.4kg organic free-range chicken
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 600g carrots, thickly sliced
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- 150g pearl barley
- 50g butter
- 150g dry-cured bacon lardons
- 600g leeks, cleaned and sliced thickly
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked, for the parsley dumplings
- 100g self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 50g shredded suet
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Put the chicken into a deep, snug-fitting pan. Add the celery, onion, half the carrots, the bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Cover with 2 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, then simmer for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked, turning it halfway through. Lift the chicken onto a plate, cover and set aside to cool slightly. (You can do this a day ahead and leave the chicken to cool in the liquid.)
- Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl, then return it to the pan, discarding the veg. Add the pearl barley, bring to a simmer, cover, then cook for 35-40 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin, and tear it into small pieces.
- Melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole (at least 4 litre capacity), add the bacon lardons and fry gently for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden. Add the remaining carrots, leeks and thyme and stir together well. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the pearl barley/stock mixture to the veg along with the chicken. Season and bring back to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, for the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir in the suet and parsley, then add 75-100ml cold water – just enough to make a soft, sticky dough. Using a spoon, divide the mixture into equal-size balls and drop them on top of the stew. Cover and simmer for a further 20 minutes until the dumplings have puffed up and a skewer inserted into one comes out clean. Serve the stew in deep bowls.
Add any other root veg you like along with the leeks and carrots – we love parsnips or swede.
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