Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Stew

by Kristin on December 10, 2009

I’ve never really been sure when autumn crosses over into winter. I’d always thought the winter solstice marked the first day of winter, which just goes to show my American roots — apparently we regard the season as starting on the solstice and ending on the following equinox (regardless of the fact that in the Midwest, where I grew up, you could still get snow well into April). It turns out that in Ireland and Scandinavia, the solstice is traditionally considered to be midwinter, with November 1st (Samhain) being seen as the start of the season, while other European countries call November 11th (St. Martin’s Day) the start of winter. Either way, the recent dip in temperatures has me craving warming, hearty foods even more than I did a month ago. This stew fit the bill perfectly. The chickpeas and sweet potato make you feel virtuously healthy, while the chorizo adds depth and spice. All in all, it’s an easy midweek meal for a cold night now that there are plenty more of those in store, regardless of whether you think winter is just about to arrive or we’re almost halfway to spring.

Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Stew
adapted from Domini Kemp in The Irish Times

Serves 4

splash of olive oil
1 or 2 chorizo sausages, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
2 or 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 x 14 oz (400 g) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 14 oz (400 g) can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
pinch of sugar
2 cups (500 ml) water or stock
a few handfuls of baby spinach
handful of fresh cliantro (coriander), chopped, to garnish
crusty bread, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot on a medium heat and fry the chorizo for about 5 minutes, until it’s starting to brown a little at the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened a bit. Add the chorizo back in, then add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, canned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and the water or stock. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add in the spinach and stir until it wilts. Serve in bowls along with good bread and the fresh coriander sprinkled on top.

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