Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

Pesto chicken stew with cheesy dumplings

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(84 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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30th Sep, 2019
I made this at the weekend but I don't know if I would make it again. I'd definitely save your money and leave out the sun dried tomatoes; they add absolutely nothing to the dish. Same goes for the peas. I made my own pesto which was beautiful but once stired into the stew, it completely disappeared and you couldn't taste any pesto in the dish! I would definitely double this next time. Also, I only noticed after I was half way through making this, that the recipes stated it serves 8! We have been eating it for 3 days now between the 2 of us and there is still half a dish left. Honestly, we could have fed the street. So great if you're feeding a crowd but if you're only cooking for 2, definitely half it. The dumplings are ok but I'd stick with my suet ones next time.
5th May, 2019
Made this last night despite husband turning up his nose at the recipe when he saw it included pesto and he admitted to enjoying the finished results. It's great to find a new interesting chicken dish and he loved the dumplings which we made with grated mature cheddar rather than Parmesan which he doesn't like. Also left out celery which is another of his hates but he does like pine nuts so included plenty of them! Halved the recipe as it was just the two of us (more left for tomorrow) and reduced stove top cooking time by 15mins but think I had heat a bit high as stuck to bottom and chicken thighs disintegrated but tasted great. Will make again for friends and family as looks and tastes good. As others have said, the sun dried tomatoes don't really add much. If I include next time I may chop up as whole ones were a bit of an odd inclusion although added colour.
20th Dec, 2018
It was ok, but lacked any real oomph. I don't think the peas really added anything to it either. I think I will use slightly less chicken stock next time as it took away some of the intensity that you get with the pesto.
14th Sep, 2018
Adapted for slow cooker, very tasty. Omitted tomatoes too as didn’t have them but added mushrooms and used dried basil as didn’t have fresh. Didn’t make dumplings but served with homemade sour dough bread. Definitely one we’ll make again.
9th Feb, 2019
How did you adapt it for the slow cooker? I’m a slow cooker novice keen to try new recipes out!
5th Jun, 2018
Made this for dinner tonight - it was far too salty for my tastes. Probably a combination of the store-bought chicken stock and pesto. I ended up adding some chopped potatoes to try and soak some of it up, but it was still too salty for me. Otherwise the flavour was nice, and I would probably try it again with salt-reduced stock and home-made pesto.
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.


22nd Jan, 2018
Could anyone suggest whether this recipe would be suitable for a slow cooker?
14th Sep, 2018
I made this in the slow cooker yesterday, halved the ingredients as it was only for 4 of us. Did as suggested by good food team, worked fantastically, we were all eating at different times that evening and it was equally tasty at 430 as 8pm.
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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