A can of chickpeas, an onion, and some garlic make up the most unassuming of all blank canvases for a meal. These three homely ingredients become something special when combined, add in other pantry staples and spices and a meal worthy of casual company can come together quickly and without fuss. For this Spiced Chickpea Stew I made excellent use of frozen butternut squash and spinach, although fresh would work just as well. I’m going for convenience when making a recipe like this one. This recipe will keep for several days in the fridge, I generally eat it as written for a day or two before I begin adding in little extras to stretch out the leftovers. Mashed sweet potatoes or carrots are lovely when mixed into this stew, rub chicken thighs with Ras El Hanout and olive oil and serve alongside the stew, or stir in a generous spoonful of this garlicky cashew cream with lime and cilantro. If there’s anything else I love more than a hearty stew it’s a crunchy, sweet, and tangy slaw to serve alongside (or on top!) of the chickpeas. The nigella seeds in the slaw aren’t strictly necessary, I’ve been using them a lot in salads lately and I find they complement the flavour of so many other ingredients I love, they look so pretty and they have such a lovely bright citrus flavour. The fun in this recipe is its flexibility, it’s a dream of a meal to put together when you have a the basic ingredients and a handful of miscellaneous items hanging about in the kitchen.
spiced chickpea stew with butternut squash & spinach:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, diced into small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup fresh or frozen butternut squash, cubed
1 red sweet pepper, diced into small pieces
1 Tbsp. Ras El Hanout or Garam Masala or curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 can of chickpeas, liquid reserved
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 bunch of spinach or 1/2 package of frozen spinach
Generous amount of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion, garlic, butternut squash cubes, red sweet pepper and cook until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the Ras El Hanout (or spice blend of your preference), cumin, coriander, and a generous pinch of salt and cook with the vegetables for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the entire can of chickpeas, including the liquid (this will help thicken the stew) and the vegetables stock. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until some of the liquid has evaporated, stirring in the spinach to cook over the last few minutes.
- Serve the stew piping hot with a dollop of Greek yogurt or at room temperature with a side of Orange Cucumber Slaw with Nigella Seeds.
orange cucumber slaw with nigella seeds:
1 small cucumber, pulp removed and sliced into thin half moons
1 orange, zested and juiced
Drizzle of olive oil
2 Tbsp. scallion greens, sliced thinly
1 small bunch of parsley, finely snipped with scissors
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp. nigella seeds
Pinch of dried chilies
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, gently stirring to combine. Serve with Spiced Chickpea Stew with Butternut Squash and Spinach (or, stuffed into a pita with shredded chicken, butter lettuce, and mayonnaise mixed with a small amount of orange juice and zest).
Flowing slowed down shimmery songs like this one have always been a weakness of mine, I blame it on an early obsession with Mazzy Star, Belly’s sophomore album King, and Suzanne Vega.
The Black Ryder – Let Me Be Your Light