Poached chicken with parsley and lemon dumplings

Poached chicken with parsley and lemon dumplings

The Frugal Cook
Mike Cooper

Assuming you have your favourite roast chicken recipe, as most families do, here's an alternative way to cook a chicken which keeps it beautifully succulent.


Quantity Ingredient
a medium-sized free-range chicken
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and cut into 8
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small bulb fennel, quartered
or 1/2 larger bulb fennel, quartered
or 2 sticks celery, cut into four
1 litre cold chicken stock or vegetable stock, made with an organic stock cube
or 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder
1 bayleaf
6-8 peppercorns

For the dumplings

Quantity Ingredient
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 level teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 unwaxed lemon, finely grated rind
75g suet
1 heaped teaspoon finely snipped chives
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped parsley
125-150ml iced water


  1. Put the chicken in a large pot with the onions, carrots and fennel, pour in the stock and enough water to cover and and bring to the boil over a moderate heat. (This will take about 20-25 minutes). Skim off any froth and add the bayleaf and peppercorns. Turn the heat down to a bare simmer and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  2. Make the dumplings about 10 minutes before the chicken is due to be ready. Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl. Add the grated lemon rind. Tip in the suet and cut it in with a sharp knife. Mix in the chives and parsley then gradually add enough cold water to hold the mixture together, without handling the mixture too much. Form the dough into 8-10 small balls.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, set it aside on a warm plate to rest. Spoon out the vegetables and lay them alongside it. Bring the stock in the pan up to the boil again then drop in the dumplings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes to allow the dumplings to dry a little. Carve the chicken and serve in soup bowls with the vegetables and dumplings. You could also serve some extra freshly cooked veg such as carrots and fennel or leeks.
  4. You can also get very successful results with this recipe in a slow cooker. Once you've brought the chicken and vegetables to the boil transfer them to a slow cooker and pour in just enough stock to cover, leaving about 2cm free at the top of the pot. Follow the cooking time recommended in the leaflet then carefully lift out the chicken and set it aside. You will have to transfer the stock back to a saucepan again to cook the dumplings as they will not cook fast enough in a slow cooker.


  • You could serve the chicken with aioli rather than with dumplings and some boiled new potatoes tossed with butter and herbs.


  • Don't make soup with the carcass as it will already have been boiled once, but any leftover chicken or stock will taste fabulous.

Thirfty tip

  • It's worth buying a couple of chickens if you find them at a good price and freezing one.
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