I’ve been inspired by the flurry of winter warming dishes that have been going around the net. When there’s a few inches of snow outside and your cold down to your bones then things like this Chestnut Soup (minus the dairy) and a wintry Chickpea Stew provide just the thing to renew you with energy and sustenance. This warming and fragrant tagine is both incredibly simple to prepare and delicious to eat. With an aromatic array of spice, a mellow sweetness from the carrots and an earthy bite provided by the chickpeas, this is just the kind of dish to put fire in your belly of an evening and can be made within half an hour if you’re really trying.
Most importantly, it’s really lovely to eat and, frankly, anything that can be served with a bowl of rice or quinoa and a generous dollop of hummus is alright by me. In fact, why stop there. Turn this into a feast with the addition of a warm green bean, pea and olive salad (use frozen beans and peas and store cupboard black olives - it’s delicious I promise) and a plate of homemade socca to mop up all the juices – socca, if you were wondering, is a flatbread made from gram flour. It’s actually French in origin but it goes beautifully with this and any other tagine you can think of, you’ll find a decent recipe for it here. I can’t recommend this combination enough; the colours, flavour and textures will be sure to help banish the January blues and see you fighting fit into February.
This quantity of tagine will serve two people as a main meal or four as part of a larger spread.
CARROT AND CHICKPEA TAGINE
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 x 410g tin of chickpeas
A small bunch of coriander
½ a lemon
Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. Peel the carrots, trim the ends and then cut on the diagonal into 1½ cm thick slices. Drain the chickpeas and rinse before setting aside.
Heat the oil in a large casserole or tagine with a lid. Add the onion and garlic and ½ tsp of sea salt – this not only flavours but also helps to stop the onion catching. Lower the heat and gently sauté until the onion is completely soft.
Add all of the spices, the honey and the carrots to the pan and stir together. Pour over the water, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas to the tagine and stir together, cover and leave to cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
Chop the fresh coriander and cut the lemon into wedges. Season the tagine to taste and serve hot scattered with the coriander leaves and garnished with the lemon wedges.