Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

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(69 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 leeks, 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 leaves
  • 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, questions and tips

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iamnotgemma's picture
13th Mar, 2018
Probably my favourite recipe from BBCgoodfood! This is addictively good. The basil makes it smell and taste amazing. I’m not normally a dumpling fan (as can be a bit stodgy) but these dumplings are brilliant! Can’t recommend highly enough! Make enough for seconds and thirds! :)
6th Mar, 2018
Loved this. Made it with chicken breasts (used 6 large ones), as per previous reviews didn't bother with the sundried tomatoes.. didnt miss them! Did add another 2 tablespoons of cornflour before putting in the oven as felt it was a bit too runny. Also added mushrooms before going in the oven. Dumplings were very cheesy! Didnt bother with the pine nuts as they were expensive for such a small amount needed.
26th Sep, 2017
Delicious! The whole family (young through old) really enjoyed it and would like me to make it again. Good enough for a dinner party but also good wholesome family fare.
20th Jun, 2017
One of my favourite recipes of all time. I've made it again and again: for casual family dinners and posh dinner parties. Every single person I've made it for has been wowed by the flavours involved. Don't be put off by the way it looks before the final stage: it'll look lovely at the end. This is an absolute winner.
14th Jun, 2017
This has become a firm family favourite even with the picky eaters
16th Dec, 2016
Made this a few times now and it's amazing! I tend to use a jar of pesto instead of fresh, no celery and boneless chicken thighs.
25th Sep, 2016
Absolutely marvellous as a post-run treat!
22nd Nov, 2015
Had this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. The dumplings were a lovely addition to a great winter warming stew.
21st Nov, 2015
Delicious recipe. I used homemade pesto and didn't have any leeks so used a red and a white onion instead which worked perfectly. Served with mash potatoes, although personally I think this stew is best served with either the dumplings or potato but not both. This will become a firm favourite and would be suitable to serve at a dinner party.
27th Jun, 2015
Great recipe! Tried it for the first time, timings (prep/cooking) were spot on, dumplings super easy to make and delicious. All the flavours came together perfectly! Will definitely make again.


22nd Jan, 2018
Could anyone suggest whether this recipe would be suitable for a slow cooker?
goodfoodteam's picture
23rd Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. You can do step 3 in the slow cooker if you like. Check out our guide for adapting recipes for the slow cooker:
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