For the filling:
125g drained pickled pearl onions
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
2 tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
1 tsp dijon
700g cooked chicken (meat from 1 rotisserie chicken), torn into bite-sized pieces
150g frozen peas
For the dumplings:
225g cold butter, cubed
475g self raising flour
100g grated Irish cheddar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Melt 25g of the butter in a medium sized ovenproof casserole pan, add the onions and carrot and fry slowly for about 6-8 minutes or until softened with a little colour. Add the thyme and allow to soften for a minute followed by the remaining 50g of butter to the saucepan and allow to melt over a medium heat, add the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking to combine. Gradually add the stock whisking briskly until it thickens. If it goes a little lumpy, don’t worry; just whisk vigorously until it becomes smooth.
Season with a generous pinch of salt, black pepper and add the mustard. Pour in the cream and stir through along with the chicken and peas, allow to simmer for 1 minute and season.
Prepare the dumplings by rubbing the butter and flour together in a bowl until resembling fine breadcrumbs, add ¾ of the cheese and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Bring the mixture together using a knife with a couple of tablespoons of water until you have a dough, bring together into a ball using your hands. Knead slightly, before forming into 20 dumplings each around the size of a golf ball. Arrange on top of the chicken mix in the pan, starting from the outside leaving a little space in between each one to allow for rising, and work your way into the inside to give a nice pattern. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and place in the oven for 25 minutes until they are risen and golden.