You can serve this casserole without the dumpling topping and cook it on its own or topped with peeled whole potatoes.
1 chicken (1.8kg/4lb)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
350g (12oz) unsliced rindless streaky bacon, cut into 1-2cm (½inch) chunks
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm (Iin) slices on the diagonal
700ml (1¼ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
Few sprigs of thyme
For the cheesy herb dumplings
350g (12oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
I tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
300ml (½ pint)
buttermilk or soured milk
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon or chives
25g (1oz) Cheddar cheese, finely grated
5cm (2in) scone cutter (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Remove the breasts from the chicken and cut them in half. Remove the leg portions and divide them into thighs and drumsticks. This will give eight chicken pieces in total. Season them well with salt and pepper.
2. Pour the olive oil into a large casserole dish on a high heat, add the bacon and fry quickly for 1-2 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Add the chicken in batches and sear on each side until golden, then remove. Add the onion and carrots and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
3. Return the bacon and chicken to the dish, pour on the stock, add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring slowly to the boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
4. In the meantime, prepare the dumplings. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, add the herbs, mix, then make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the buttermilk or soured milk (leaving about 50ml/2fl oz in the measuring jug). Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary. Donít knead the mixture or it will become too heavy. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky.
5. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and bring together, forming it into a round. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 2cm (½in) thick. With the scone cutter stamp out 10-12 dumplings, or divide the dough into 10-12 pieces and roll each one between your hands into a small ball.
6. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and turn the heat up to 230°C (450°F), Gas mark 8. Arrange the dumplings on top, leaving a slight gap between them to allow for spreading. Scatter with the cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6, and cook for a further 20 minutes until the dumplings are crisp and golden and the chicken is cooked through.
This no-cook dessert is great for entertaining as you can double and triple the quantities very easily (see tip about raw eggs). Strawberries combine very well with the creaminess of white chocolate. Serve in individual glasses so you can see the layers.
200g (7oz) caster sugar
400g (14oz) strawberries, hulled and halved
50ml (2fl oz) crème de cassis or crème de framboise
200g (7oz) white chocolate
4 eggs, separated
1 x 250g tub of mascarpone cheese
1 x 200g packet of boudoir biscuits (sponge fingers)
24 x 18cm (9½ 7in) gratin dish with 6cm (2½ inches) sides, or 2.2 litre (3¼ pint) trifle bowl, or 8-10 glasses
1. First, make a syrup by placing half the sugar in a saucepan with 150ml (5fl oz) water. Bring slowly to the boil on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave to slightly cool for 5 minutes and then add the strawberries and the crème de cassis or crème de framboise. Allow to cool completely.
2. Roughly chop 150g (5oz) of the white chocolate and melt in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove and allow to cool a little. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until pale and thick. Beat in the mascarpone cheese until really smooth, then stir in the cooled melted white chocolate.
3. In a separate, spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold them carefully into the egg and mascarpone mixture until well combined.
4. Now, strain the fruit mixture through a sieve set over a bowl to catch the syrup. Dip half the biscuits in the cooled syrup and use them to line the base of the serving glasses. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the biscuits, followed by half the fruit. Cover the fruit with another layer of the biscuits dipped in the liquid, then spread over the remainder of the fruit, followed by the remaining mascarpone mixture.
5. Grate the remaining white chocolate over the top of each glass. Cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the biscuits to absorb the juices and soften.
Rachel's Baking Tip
You could alternatively make the tiramisu in a single glass bowl or pretty teacups, layering in the same way as the glasses above.
* Please note that this recipe contains raw eggs and so is not suitable for pregnant women, for elderly or sick people or the very young.