Spanish Chickpea and Potato Bake (Serves 6)

Spanish Chickpea Potato Bake

Spanish Chickpea and Potato Bake

When I get a new cookbook I tend to cook a lot of recipes from it and then move on to something new, but I think this is good because I really get a feel for what the cookbook’s all about when I do that. The fact that it’s a vegetarian cookbook also makes it particularly interesting for me because ordinarily I eat meat every day for dinner and I’m finding it both intriguing and enlightening to see just how satisfying vegetarian meals can really be.

So, continuing on the Happy Pear theme, I’d like to share last night’s dinner with you. This Spanish chickpea and potato bake was a casserole bake, filled with loads of tasty vegetables. The recipe suggests using a base of celery, carrots, green pepper and leeks, but I reckon you could add just about any vegetable that rocks your world. I added some celeriac (which I pre-cooked) that I wanted to use up, which added a lovely rooty sweetness to the dish, and I’ll bet broccoli or fennel would be great in it too.

The Happy Pear guys use a cheddar nut crumble on top of another recipe in their book and I couldn’t resist trying it on top of this Spanish chickpea and potato bake just to add a bit more crunch to it. I’m so pleased I did because it turned out beautifully, adding a deep cheesy roasted nut flavour which enhanced the taste of the vegetables. Anyway, here’s the recipe should you feel so inclined to try it.

Ingredients:

1 fresh chilli or ½ tsp dried chilli powder

50g celery (1 stalk cut into bite-sized pieces)

2 carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)

100g green bell pepper (cut into bite-sized pieces)

50g green leek tips (thinly sliced)

800g potatoes (cut into thin slices)

2 tbsps. olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 tsp asafoetida powder

2 tsps. dried mixed herbs

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp smoked paprika

400g of tinned chopped tomatoes

200g of tinned chickpeas (drained and well rinsed)

50g fresh parsley (chopped)

15ml of golden syrup

1 jar of red pesto (make sure it’s free from onion or garlic though)

For the cheddar nut crumble:

20g of flaked hazelnuts

50g of pumpkin seeds

100g of grated cheddar cheese (or non-dairy version)

Method:

Prep all of your veg as directed in the ingredients list.

Put the oil in a large pan on a medium heat and cook your leek tips with the bay leaf for about 10 mins until soft.

Add the celery, carrots and chilli and cook for 6-8 mins, adding a little water if necessary to stop them drying out.

Add the dried herbs, asafoetida powder, spices and pepper and cook for another 5 mins.

Add the tinned tomatoes.

Bring up to a gentle simmer.

Add your drained chickpeas and leave to simmer for 10-15 mins.

While this is simmering gently boil your sliced potatoes until just soft.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Add the parsley and golden syrup to the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain your potatoes and toss them with the pesto until they are coated.

Pour your stew into a casserole dish and top with the slices of potato.

Mix the cheese with the sliced hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds and scatter over the sliced potatoes.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until it is bubbling and the potato and nut topping is crispy.

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