The Alternative Roast (Roast Chicken, Veg Stew & Dumplings)

Slow Roast chicken flavoured with lemon, garlic and herbs, served with a vegetable stew topped with cheesy, herby dumplings.  So delicious and comforting, you won’t miss the roast potatoes!

Why the Alternative Roast

I love a classic roast. Being born and raised in the UK, the Sunday roast is of course a recognised and loved tradition in my household. However, I don’t always love the amount of work and washing up involved. So this is my alternative to the traditional Sunday Roast resulting in less chaos in the kitchen!

What is the Alternative Roast

There are two elements to this recipe: (1) the slow roast chicken; and (2) the vegetable stew topped with herb and cheese dumplings.

(1) The Slow Roast Chicken

A whole chicken is placed in a roasting pan with lemons and herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage. The chicken is rubbed with garlic butter and drizzled with olive oil. It is then slow roasted to juicy perfection for 3 hrs in the oven.

(2) The Vegetable Stew Topped with Herb & Cheese Dumplings

Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks, mushrooms and broccoli) are cooked in one pot. The cooking liquid is a white wine and herb infused gravy. Fluffy dumplings made with parmesan and parsley are made and popped on the top to cook.

How to Serve The Alternative Roast

For presentation purposes, serve in the dishes you have cooked the chicken, stew and dumplings in with a side of cranberry sauce. 

For serving individual portions, ladle some of the stew and dumplings onto each person’s dish. Carve the chicken and add. Serve with a dollop of cranberry sauce on the side.

This recipe is comfort food at its best!

Storing Leftovers

Once fully cooled, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Reheat in a medium heated oven or in a microwave.

Other Sunday Comfort Food Recipes

Check out some of my other comforting recipes to serve as Sunday lunch.

The Alternative Roast

Slow Roast Chicken served with a Vegetable Stew and Dumplings
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time3 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: family recipes, roast dinner
Servings: 4 (to 6)
Author: Mersedeh Prewer


Roast Chicken

  • 1 large whole chicken (1.8kg - 2kg)
  • 1 lemon (halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed - for rubbing on the chicken)
  • Fresh mixed herbs roasting herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary - usually sold as a packet of roasting herbs)
  • 2 tbsp butter (room tempertaure)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Vegetable Casserole

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 400 g new potatoes (washed and halved)
  • 1/2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 medium leeks (washed and chopped into 2 inch chunks)
  • 4 parsnips (washed, peeled and chopped into 3 inch chunks)
  • 300 g Chantenay carrots (washed and halved)
  • 250 g mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)
  • 8 stalks purple sprouting broccoli
  • 225 ml white wine
  • 1.5 litre chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper  (I sometime use crushed / ground pink peppercorns as an alternative which gives a lovely note to the stew)


  • 140 g chilled butter (chopped into small cubes)
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 1 -2 tbsps grated parmesan
  • 125 ml water
  • Chopped fresh parsley for the dumplings and garnish


Prepare and Roast the Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 120°C  (fan) / 140°C (conventional) / gas mark 1.
  • Place herbs in chicken’s cavity and around the chicken in a roasting tray. Add lemon halves and garlic bulbs to the tray.
  • Crush 2 garlic cloves and add to butter. Rub into chicken and drizzle with olive oil. Season and place in oven for 3 hrs. After it has been in the oven for 90 mins, baste with the juices and return to the oven.
  • About 15 mins before the end of the cooking time for the roast chicken, increase heat to 200°C (fan) / 220°C (conventional) / gas mark 7 to crisp skin. Once the skin is crispy, to your liking, leave to rest uncovered out of the oven for 15 mins.

Prepare and Cook the Vegetable Stew

  • While chicken is in the oven, heat oil in a casserole dish or other dish which can be placed in an oven (approx 3 litres capacity) over medium heat.
  • Add potatoes and cook for about 5 mins. Add flour and mix - this will help to thicken the gravy for the vegetable casserole.
  • Then add vegetables, with the slowest cooking veg going in first, with around 2 minute intervals between each addition (carrots, parsnips, leeks, mushrooms). Hold back on the broccoli for now.
  • Add bay leaves, thyme leaves and garlic and mix. Add wine, if using. Then add the stock and lower the heat and let simmer until vegetables are soft.
  • Season to taste. You can put the lid on the casserole once simmering or if you have cooked the casserole early on and intend to reheat prior to adding the dumplings.

Prepare the Dumplings

  • Rub butter into flour until it looks like bread crumbs. Add chopped parsley and parmesan. Add water and form into a dough. Divide and make 8 balls.
  • While the stew is simmering and about 5 mins before increasing the temperature of the oven to crisp the chicken skin, remove the lid of the casserole dish (you will have no further need for it during the remaining cooking steps). Add broccoli and dumplings and let the stew simmer.
  • Place stew in oven with chicken (200°C (fan) / 220°C (conventional) / gas mark 7) 15 minutes before roast chicken has finished cooking. Check in on dumplings half-way through cooking time i.e. when you take the chicken out to rest.
  • Leave stew in oven as the chicken is resting for a further 15 mins (overall about 30 mins in the oven) for dumplings to turn golden.

Serve The Alternative Roast

  • Serve vegetable stew with roast chicken and a side of cranberry sauce. Sprinkle the chicken and stew with some finely chopped parsley. Ladle vegetable stew and dumplings into pasta-style bowls, place a portion of carved chicken on top with a dollop of cranberry sauce and tuck away.


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