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Moroccan chickpeas

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Or how to make dinner when the fridge is bare. Not that the fridge is ever bare, but say it were, you could dive into the cupboards and use up one or more of those cans of pulses you’ve been stockpiling for a rainy day/riot in dinner. As my working/cooking/eating routine is going to be turned upside down over the next few months, I’ve been trying out quick and filling recipes that don’t require fresh ingredients, for those days when I crawl home late and tired, too busy to draw up a carefully planned out shopping list, which takes into account the shelf life of all fresh ingredients, and uses them all up without leftovers. Sometimes life gets in the way of such neat and organised plans.

So pulses. If you buy them tinned you don’t have to pre-soak or pre-cook these, which is great. I’m sure they don’t taste quite as good as the “real” thing, but at the end of the day they are chickpeas, not highly processed meat. When I first looked at the recipe I was expecting the dish to taste very highly spiced, aggressively sweet and spicy and a little overpowering, but the balance of all the different spices in the dish works very well; the result is surprisingly subtle, gently warming and interesting but not aggressive.

Moroccan chickpeas
From Dinner with Julie

I was intending to serve this with some brown rice on the side, but it actually made more than enough for two people as a meal on its own, and the chickpeas make it pleasingly filling.

1 small red onion, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 400g can tomatoes
1 large handful of raisins
1 400g can of chickpeas
1 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Juice of half a lime

1. In a large saucepan heat a drizzle of oil and fry the onion until it softens, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the minced garlic clove and cook for a further couple of minutes.

2. Once the garlic starts to brown add the chopped tomatoes and raisins and bring to a simmer. Add the chickpeas, red pepper, mint leaves and chopped parsley and stir well. Season with lime juice and a good three-fingered pinch of salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes so the flavours have time to develop.

Serve with more parsley sprinkled over the top. Serves 2.


Written by guffblog

25th August 2011 at 20:40

Posted in Main courses

Tagged with , ,

Spaghetti con ceci

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This post should really be title “Or why it pays to read the recipe”, although that would imply that not reading the recipe properly was detrimental to the end result, and although I’m sure this version isn’t as good as the original, it was still just as tasty, with the added bonus of producing less washing up.

I found this recipe a few weeks ago and bookmarked it as interesting pasta recipe to try that doesn’t involve too much effort. I clearly didn’t read the recipe properly, but glanced at the ingredients, decided I had them in stock and went on my to-make list last week. Jump forward to 7pm on a Sunday evening, I have a cauldron of mulled wine bubbling away on the stove and am feeling distinctly hungry. Only at this point do I read the full instructions and discover not only do I need a pot for the pasta and one for the sauce but also another one for the chickpea puree. Feeling that four saucepans was excessive for one lowly dinner I decided to skip the whole pureeing stage and just throw everything in together in one saucepan. Minus the fresh basil, since mine lives outside and doesn’t like snow apparently, and minus the pancetta, as that was demolished earlier in the week in a recipe it had no place being in, but still settled right in like it was at home because pig products tend to do that everywhere they go. Mmmm, pig. Where was I?

Oh yes, chickpeas. So, this is really just tomato sauce with chickpeas added, which is probably barely worthy of a recipe but hey ho, here it is anyway, and if you follow the link you’ll get the actual recipe I meant to make, which I guess is still on my to-make list.

Spaghetti con ceci
Adapted quite a lot, but mainly through laziness, from Smitten Kitchen, who got the recipe from New York Magazine

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed chillies
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained

1. In a large saucepan heat a drizzle of oil. Add the onion, garlic and chillies and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes, basil and plenty of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the chickpeas; mash a few with the back of a fork to thicken up the sauce a bit.

4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 220g gluten-free spaghetti, and a teaspoon of oil (helps prevent the spaghetti sticking together). Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until just al dente. You may need to stir this pretty ferociously for the first 2 minutes to prevent your spaghetti from turning into 1 giant spaghetti stick.

5. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce with tongs. Dish up and sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if you have some.

Serves 2, with lots of sauce, or if you make more pasta (about 300g) serves 3.

Written by guffblog

11th December 2010 at 19:33