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.