Chicken stew, kale, almond winter pesto

Chicken stew casserole

The cold, dark nights of January call for slow-cooked, rich and satisfying stews. It’s surely one of the few redeeming features of winter, that warming broths and casseroles can be fixtures at dinner week after week. This chicken stew is a tasty and nourishing - don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, it’s relatively simple to prepare it just takes a bit of time.

You’ll need a whole chicken, so buy yourself a lovely high welfare free-range bird and take off the breasts, (use these later for whatever you fancy) and save the thighs, legs, wings and body. We always buy a whole chicken and divide it up. It’s far more cost effective and this way, you can make lots of different dishes from one bird. You’ll also have the body for stock (great for soups). If you’re savvy you could stretch 10 meals from one chicken - try it, you’ll never go back.


Cuisine: British
Dish: Dinner
Serves: 4
Calories per serving: 548

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2.5 hours


For the stock and casserole

2 free-range high welfare chicken thigh
2 free-range high welfare chicken legs
1 chicken carcass and wings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 carrots
2 brown onions
2 sticks of celery
1 large leek
2 large potatoes
1 turnip
1/2 swede
1 sprig rosemary
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of sage
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the pesto

50g bag kale
1 small bunch parsley
50g almonds
50g parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil
100 millilitres water


To make the stock place the chicken carcass and wings in a large stock pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once at a boil remove from the heat and drain to remove any impurities.

Refill with the stock pot with water to cover the chicken and add an onion, halved, a stick of celery, a carrot, the bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours. If the water becomes too low add a dash more.

In a large saucepan or casserole dish brown the chicken thighs and legs in a tablespoon of olive oil. Once browned, about 10 minutes, add a tablespoon of plain flour and ensure that the chicken is nicely coated. Remove the chicken from the dish.

Add in another tablespoon of olive oil into the casserole dish with the finely diced onion, carrot and celery. Sweat down on a low heat until slightly caramelised and soft. Add a crushed clove of garlic and the leek and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.

Once the stock is cooked and smells deeply of chicken strain and keep the liquid ready for the casserole.

Peel and chop the root vegetables into 2 centimetre cubes. Place the chicken pieces back into the pan along with the swede, turnip and potatoes. Ladle the fresh chicken stock into the casserole dish; you want enough liquid to cover. You should have around half the stock left over (perfect for soup!).

Tie the herbs together with some twine and place into the casserole dish and season well with salt and black pepper. Cover and place into an oven at 160 C fan for 1 hour. After 30 minutes give it a good stir.

For the pesto, add the kale into salted boiling water for 1 minute and then add the parsley for no more than 30 seconds. Drain and run under the cold tap to cool down. Add the kale mixture to a food processor along with the almonds and parmesan and blitz, adding the oil and water as you go until it's the right consistency. If you need to add more water then that's OK.

To serve, remove the chicken pieces from the casserole and take out the bones and cartilage. Add the chicken meat back into the casserole and mix well. Serve with a good helping of the pesto on top of the stew.

Hope you all enjoy it!

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