Friday, October 10, 2008

Chicken and Bacon Casserole with Dumplings

This recipe has been a favorite winter warmer in our house for several years. Earlier this week it was cool and rainy, which gave me the perfect opportunity to make this casserole. Good thing I did as the cool weather didn't last long, it’s now back to sunny and 83°F.

The original recipe came from a packet of Atora (English) suet, but it has been tweaked quite a bit over the years. Please don’t let the mention of suet put you off, this is nothing like the stuff you Americans feed the birds. That said, beef suet is contraband over here, but a good friend sent me a couple of packets after his last trip to England, so I got to use some of my stash for the dumplings.

Now if you’re feeling adventurous you can get Atora vegetable suet on-line, it’s a good substitute, and you can find it here:

Alternatively, you’ll find a recipe for suetless dumplings at David Hall’s blog, Book the Cook, which you’ll find here:

Or just use whatever dumpling recipe you would normally use, but if you’ve never tried suet dumplings you are missing a real treat. Suet can also be used as shortening and makes great tasting pastry.

Chicken and Bacon Casserole with Dumplings

Sorry about the photo, this is straight out of the oven so the picture doesn’t really do it justice. But trust me, this is a great tasting casserole.


6 slices thick bacon, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, fairly thickly sliced.
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth/stock
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves
12 button mushrooms
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into wedges


½ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup Atora suet
Cold water to mix, approximately 4-6 tablespoons

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  • In a large saucepan (use a Dutch oven if you have one) fry bacon over a medium high heat until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Discard bacon grease and wipe pan with paper towels.
  • In the same pan, heat olive oil over a medium heat, add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside.
  • Add onion and green pepper to pan and sauté for 3 minutes until onion is slightly softened. Add garlic and sauté for a further minute.
  • Sprinkle over flour, stirring continuously. Gradually add broth/stock, stirring continuously. Return bacon and chicken to the pan, add bay leaves and season with pepper. (I would not recommend adding salt as the bacon already gives this dish a salty flavor). Bring to the boil.
  • Transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole/baking dish, top with mushrooms and tomato wedges. Cover dish and place in oven for 30 minutes.

To make the dumplings:

  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, suet, and salt, gradually add water until dough is of a soft, elastic consistency.
  • Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll into ball with floured hands.
    Add dumplings to casserole, cover and return to oven for a further 20-25 minutes.


Lisa said...

I have never heard of suet before. This casserole looks delcicious!

Paula said...

I think I let out a little moan of longing when I read the title of your post! This could be the worlds most perfect comfort food. I've never heard of this type of suet ... vegetable or otherwise. The dumplings look both hearty and fluffy and I bet that's due to the suet. I bet your kitchen smelled terrific as this baked! YUM, YUM, YUM!

Cheryl said...

Man oh man if that isn't comfort food, then nothing is! Looks quite tasty!

Joanna said...

this is a crazy comfort food dish- the best kind. it sounds like something i would read about in bon appetite.

Beth said...

There's nothing like a good dumpling! This sounds delicious

nicole said...

This looks so good. This is a total comfort food.I love making things when it is cold outside and the food gets to warm your belly.

pamokc said...

I can practically smell it. I had never heard of suet either, except for what you feed the birds around here ... what is a typical American equivalent, do you know?

Jan said...

Pam, there isn't an American equivalent, I even asked about it at the butchers shop. As I said, you can only get suet here in the US from the British Delights on-line store I mentioned in my post. It may also be available at British speciality shops, of which there are none in my neck of the woods.

Emiline said...

I believe you! I bet this tasted wonderful.

Yes, it was hot here today! I was sweating at work. I guess it doesn't really get cold until November.

Denise said...

Oh for the wonderful steamed puddings my Mum used to make with her suet. Never tasted anything like it since. Can't get suet down here. Our shop did stock Atora once but it flew off the shelves before I could get a look-in and we haven't been able to get it since. This looks like another wonderful recipe Janet. Thanks for sharing it and thanks also for the links.

Jason said...

This looks so delicious, I have a weak spot for comfort dishes like this, and you used bacon, yum! I think I might even be drooling a bit!

Candy said...

I love dumplings! Yum!

Pam said...

Oh Jan, can I come to your house for dinner? This is my idea of the perfect comfort food. It looks and sounds delicious.

Raquel said...

Sounds great! I agree, you can't find suet over here except for what you feed the birds. Just now catching up. Much love, Raquel XO

Jan said...

Hi Raquel, I hope you had a lovely wedding day. I'm looking forward to reading about it on your blog.

Kevin said...

This chicken casserole looks tasty! I like the use of the dumplings!

Jackie said...

Whenever my parents come over from England they bring me a couple of packets of vegetable suet. I wish they sold it over here.
Have you used yours to make spotted dick yet? :)