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Yesterday we welcomed Blanca to our home for nine weeks – it’s lovely to have someone else around in the evenings when my husband works, and it will provide some extra cash for our upcoming holiday. 

For her first night, the kids and I made Pesto Chicken Stew with Parseman dumplings. This was originally a BBC Food recipe that has naturally evolved over time, and is now a similar but tweaked version that works for us. 

  

In a large pan (or ideally a hob-safe casserole dish) gently cook off some diced celery, squash and bacon. Add some chicken meat (stripped from a roasted bird). 

  

Add a large heaped spoon of flour and stir through your meat and veg mix. This thickens your sauce up nicely. Quickly add some stock, or some water and a crumbled stock cube. Then a dollop of pesto. 

  

At this point it can be transferred to the oven to cook away for a bit – maybe an hour? With the lid on. 

Meanwhile, make your dumplings. You need to make fine breadcrumbs out of 250g SR. flour and 140g butter. And then stir through some Parmesan – BBC FOOD stipulate 100g but I have never measured, just grating until I have a nice little pile. It’ll be fine regardless. Mix through, then add just enough water to form a dough dough. 

  

Take your stew out of the oven. Add a good bundle of frozen peas and stir. You may need to add more liquid too, it shouldn’t be too dry. Then mould your dough into little balls and place in the stew, with the tops showing. Bake again for half an hour or so, until the stew is bubbling and the dumplings are browned. 

We served this with extra veg but it’s a balanced meal in itself I reckon. My kids absolutely love this! We served with steamed carrots and broccoli, and I think that this must cover four of their recommended five pieces of fruit and veg a day. 

I approximate that this cost just a few pence over five quid. It fed six people, very well, and felt like a real treat. It’s not the cheapest meal but it’s also not expensive by any meals. A lovely Sunday special 🙂

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