Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

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(61 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 20 mins


Serves 8
A slow-cooked chicken casserole with Italian basil flavours that makes a perfect weekend one-pot

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal831
  • fat52g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs38g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre5g
  • protein50g
  • salt2.7g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 12-15 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone in
  • 200g smoked bacon lardon or chopped bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 celery sticks, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 3 leek, chopped



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1l chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 200g frozen pea
  • 140g sundried tomato
  • 140g fresh pesto



    Pesto is a generic Italian name for any sauce made by pounding ingredients together.


  • small bunch basil, chopped



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

For the dumplings

  • 140g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 100g Parmesan, grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 50g pine nut


  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the chicken until golden on all sides – you might have to do this in batches – remove the chicken from the pan as you go and set aside.

  2. Add the lardons to the pan and sizzle for a few mins, then add the onion, celery and leeks, and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 mins until the vegetables have softened. Stir in the flour, season and cook for a further 2 mins.

  3. Gradually stir in the wine and allow it to bubble away, then 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 hrs or until the chicken is tender. The stew can now be cooled and frozen if you’re making ahead. Just defrost thoroughly, then gently warm through back in the pan before continuing.

  4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. 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 cutlery knife to bring the crumbs together to form a light and sticky dough. Break off walnut-sized lumps and shape into small balls. Roll the tops of the dumplings in the pine nuts so a few stick to the outside, then place the dumplings on top of the stew and scatter with any remaining nuts. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 25 mins until the dumplings are golden brown and cooked through. Serve with mashed potato and extra veg if you like.

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Comments (63)

belatti's picture

We've had this twice now. Absolutely delicious!

fainleog's picture


So tasty, and so different!

I had boneless chicken thighs, which were fine for this recipe, and I'd probably use boneless again, as the children (and husband) don't really like dishes that include bones.
I couldn't find "fresh" pesto (and didn't have time to make any!), but had a jar of ready-made in the cupboard. I used two dessert spoons of pesto, which just gave the dish a subtle taste. I think any more would have overpowered the dish.
The dumplings were divine: much lighter than my usual "suet" dumplings.
Served with lots of steamed green vegetables.
Will definitely be making this again.

charlottenjsmith's picture

My husband and I loved this recipe. We added everything they said including the sundried tomatoes which I thought actually gave a nice alternative flavour to the meal. You definitely don't need any mash or anything extra with it as the dumplings are so filling and very mourish,.

elektricia's picture


Mine tasted like pea soup (no hint of flavour of the sundried tomatoes, or the pesto, it was all overpowered by the leek, celery and bacon).

Dumplings were great.

falconerem's picture

Tasty recipe but next time I will leave out the sun-dried tomatoes.

Maybe add some sliced mushrooms and/or sweetcorn instead.

I also used boneless thighs.

hicksalison's picture

Love this dish! Really impressed that my effort looked like the picture. Used chicken breast instead, but otherwise stuck to the original recipe. Added to my favourites.

ccrotty's picture

did you alter the cooking time at all? I wanted to use chicken breasts but I am worried chicken breasts would be very tough after cooking for so long?

Thank you :)

ccrotty's picture

did you alter the cooking time at all? I wanted to use chicken breasts but I am worried chicken breasts would be very tough after cooking for so long?

Thank you :)

chickemjools's picture

Thank you to those people who left comments about the ACTUAL recipe and didn't give themselves 5 stars for a recipe of their own making. Leaving ingredients out or substituting other ingredients is not the same recipe as the one written and basically those people are just giving themselves a pat on the back for their own recipe!

catriona_west's picture

I substituted chicken breast for thighs as my husband is anti brown chicken meat. Cut the breasts in two on the diagonal before browning. I reduced the cooking time. I did about 10 mins on the hob and then 40 mins in the oven to ensure the chicken breast was cooked through. Put the dumplings on top with 25 mins to go. Chicken was still succulent so happy with timing. Husband said nom nom nom which is a good result. Omitted Parmesan mainly due to cost in the local shop.

trpengelly's picture

Absolutely lovely. I accidentally left out the peas though!

claire_lloyd92's picture

This was amazingly tasty. Cooked it for my family and they all loved it. Will definitely be making it at uni.

jessiquaquaqua's picture

Had this at my friend's house for dinner last night and it was amazing!! This recipe has gone straight into the binder! Re: browning the meat- don't overcrowd the pan and do it at a high-ish temperature. Can't wait to make this. We had it with mash & green beans although the dumplings were filling enough so didn't really need the mash.

ianbaxter29's picture

Really tasty. 8 portions is a very generous serving, I would say its more like 12 portions, especially if you have veg with it as well.

robbothechef's picture

Turned out an ok dish, next time i would use a cheddar for the dumplings and maybe leave out the sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts and cut the cost of the dish slightly, so 3 stars from me!

libby0's picture

Very nice, I wonder if you could make the dumplings with less butter so it would be a bit healthier?

jkclothier's picture

I made this last week, and everyone in the family loved it! I used dry sherry instead of white wine and slightly less pesto. The parmesan dumplings were to die for! Will definitely be making this again very soon.

pmr747's picture

Really enjoyed this & will definitely do again

thecookers's picture

OMG - simply delicious - everyone loved it!

thedonnaclark's picture

Delicious. Didn't bother with the tomatoes and used pancetta. Will definitely cook again.


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