GIVEN that summer is virtually non-existent, I’m still relying on hearty and satisfying dishes to survive all the rain and cold weather.

And there’s no reason why these kinds of dishes can’t be good for you too. So if you’re looking for healthy comfort food, then these two recipes deliver in spades.

They also really look the business if you’re trying to impress, so give one of these a go if you’re hosting a dinner party this week.

And for the chicken and parsnip stew, if you struggle to get parsnips at this time of year, simply substitute with carrots. 

Serves 4

Drizzle of olive oil
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
1 red onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into large chunks
100g chorizo, chopped into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1tbsp smoked paprika
200g long grain rice
500ml chicken stock
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes


Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a large ovenproof pan (which has a lid), heat the oil over a medium heat and add the chicken. Cook for five minutes until golden all over. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

In the same pan, toss in the onions and pepper. Cook for about five minutes, until they have softened. Make sure they don’t burn, and if necessary turn down the heat a little bit. Next step – add the chorizo, garlic and paprika, and make sure you mix everything together really well. Cook for 1 minute, add the rice, stock and the chopped tomatoes. Top tip – add a little bit of water to the empty can (about a centimetre), swirl it around and empty this out into the pan as well. This will help you avoid wasting anything from the can.

Stir everything together and add the chicken breasts. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Then pop it in the oven, covered with the lid, and cook for 20 minutes until the rice is tender.

Recipe by Rebecca Heslop, from Barningham, on the edge of Teesdale. Rebecca is a massive foodie fan, as can be seen on her food blog: