Friday, 13 April 2012

Poached Chicken Legs with Dumplings

Let's be honest, when one is thinking about what to make for dinner poached chicken doesn't exactly jump to mind first. But this dish will NOT disappoint you. The chicken stays moist and tender and comes with a built-in comforting broth and herby dumplings. Yum, yum.

This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Heaven cookbook, he recommends using suet to make the dumplings which has a distinct lightness and richness. I have tried the butter version dumplings and would recommend you use suet. The suet does not have a meaty taste at all, it just imparts a rich flavour which is why it was ideal for so many traditional English dishes like Christmas pudding, mince pies, roly poly and steak and kidney pie. Dumplings have a bad reputation for being heavy, doughy and tasteless, but a well made dumpling is unsurpassable.

After eating this dish I was in a happy trance-like-state for the rest of the evening. Definite 'chicken soup' for the body and soul. I omitted the turnips simply because I didn't have them and by using chicken stock instead of water you get a lot more flavour. I also like to have pittas or a crusty bread when I serve this to soak up all the broth at the end. 


Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large chicken legs
3 large carrots, peeled
2 medium onions, peeled
2 sticks of celery, peeled
3 large turnips, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
a sprig of fresh thyme
2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 litre good chicken stock or water

Herb dumplings
225g self-raising flour
115g suet
1 tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Season the chicken legs and place them in a large pan. Chop the vegetables into large pieces and add to the chicken. Cut the garlic cloves in half and add to the pan along with the thyme, parsley sprigs, star anise and the bay leaf. Add enough chicken stock or water to just cover the chicken and vegetables. Put the pan on a medium heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 hour, skimming the liquid when necessary to achieve a good clear broth.

While the chicken is cooking, make the dumplings by mixing the flour and suet with a pinch of salt, the chopped parsley and enough cold water to make the mixture into a soft dough. Roll into small balls.

Towards the end of the cooking time, remove some of the pouching stock to a second pan and bring to a simmer. Drop the dumplings into the stock and poach for 10 - 15mins until soft and puffed up.

Serve and scoff immediately for best results.

Serves 4.


  1. Hiya Liz,

    Sounds and looks YUMMY will give it a try on a weekend once I find out what "suet" is in Dutch.. Also, I presume we need 115 grams of Suet? Measurement not indicated... Or is it 115 leaves of Suet :-)

  2. Hope you manage to find some there! It's 115g, for grams. I think you have missed your calling, give up your day job and become an editor.