Kind of Mexican Mole meets North African Tagine, this Spicy Chickpea Stew is unbelievably delicious and makes a great topping for baked potatoes, plus it just happens to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free. And it contains chocolate. Yey!
Don’t you just love happy accidents? I am utterly convinced that pretty much all the best recipes come from something that started out as a bit of a disaster. This was definitely so with this recipe.
As many of you will know, I am currently following the Sirtfood Diet and on Tuesday I chose to have the Kidney Bean Mole (It’s a Mexican dish pronounced mol-eh. See this post for more info.) for dinner, mostly because it sounded easy and Tuesday was a busy day.
So I started making the dish and low an behold, what had I forgotten to buy? Yes, kidney beans. Sometimes even I am impressed at my own stupidity. I told you a while ago about the time when I set out to make a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book Three Good Things and forgot to buy one of the 3 things…well this fail was even more epic! Kidney beans was the ONLY ingredient in the title of the recipe and the ONLY one I forgot to buy – duh!
So anyway, fortunately I did have a spare tin of chickpeas in the cupboard, so I figured I’d use those instead…and it was amazing!! Just a really awesome combination of flavours – it tasted like some kind of Mexico meets Morocco fusion food – and Mexican and Moroccan flavours are two of my absolute favourites, so put the two together and…well, this was a very good meal indeed!
This Spicy Chickpea Stew is a really nice healthier and much tastier version of baked beans to serve on jacket potatoes, as I have done here, or it would also make a great ‘posh’ beans on toast. I could just imagine this on some delicious rye bread from my local baker’s – yum! Or I’m sure it would be fab with rice, tortillas or couscous too – or why not try it with buckwheat for a super duper healthy dinner?
Apart from subbing in chickpeas for kidney beans, I also quite severely simplified the recipe. The original recipe called for all sorts of things from peanut butter to sesame seeds to cloves, cinnamon and even brown sugar. Well quite frankly on a busy school evening I just don’t have time to faff round with NINETEEN different ingredients!! So I cut that down quite a bit, as well as simplifying the method, but most definitely not compromising on flavour. Not sure if I mentioned earlier 😉 but this tastes awesome!!
In fact the only thing I would change if I made this recipe again is that I would make about 3 times the quantity. This is just the sort of thing that would be AMAZING reheated the next day.
Oh and just when you thought this dish couldn’t get any better, it just happens to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free. It’s absolutely jam packed with healthy ingredients and it contains chocolate. What more could you want?
Baked Potatoes with Spicy Chickpea Stew
- 4-6 baking potatoes pricked all over
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic grated or crushed
- 2 cm ginger grated
- ½ -2 teaspoons chilli flakes depending on how hot you like things
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons turmeric
- Splash of water
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao
- 2 x 400g tins chickpeas or kidney beans if you prefer including the chickpea water DON’T DRAIN!!
- 2 yellow peppers or whatever colour you prefer!, chopped into bitesize pieces
- 2 tablespoons parsley plus extra for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste optional
- Side salad optional
Preheat the oven to 200C, meanwhile you can prepare all your ingredients.
When the oven is hot enough put your baking potatoes in the oven and cook for 1 hour or until they are done how you like them. (Feel free to use your normal baked potato method if it’s different from mine!)
Once the potatoes are in the oven, place the olive oil and chopped red onion in a large wide saucepan and cook gently, with the lid on for 5 minutes, until the onions are soft but not brown.
Remove the lid and add the garlic, ginger, cumin and chilli. Cook for a further minute on a low heat, then add the turmeric and a very small splash of water and cook for another minute, taking care not to let the pan get too dry.
Next, add in the tomatoes, cocoa powder (or cacao), chickpeas (including the chickpea water) and yellow pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes until the sauce is thick and unctuous (but don’t let it burn!). The stew should be done at roughly the same time as the potatoes.
Finally stir in the 2 tablespoons of parsley, and some salt and pepper if you wish, and serve the stew on top of the baked potatoes, perhaps with a simple side salad.
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