As we approach mid February, the snow in East Anglia has melted and Spring doesn't feel so far away!
We always look forward to those warmer and sunnier days that lead us into Spring, when we can start planting bulbs and pretty spring flowers. Our recipe of the week however, is making us appreciate chilly days of cosying up with warming and hearty dishes.
Serves three as a main course
Garlic cloves | 3
Onion | 1, large
Celery stalks | 3
Carrots | 3, large
Chickpeas | 2 cans
Chopped Tomatoes | 1 440g can
Fresh Baby Spinach | 4 big handfuls (after they wilt in the stew they almost disappear so be generous)
Lemon Juice | 1 big lemon or 2 small ones
Cinnamon | 1 tsp
Ground Coriander | 1 tsp
Ground Cumin | 1 tsp
Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Peel and cut both onion and celery in a similar size to the chick peas. Peel carrots and cut in half length ways and then in half again.
In a soup pot add a good squirt of olive oil and cook the garlic until it starts
colouring. Add both onion and celery and sweat for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt over medium heat.
Add the canned chopped tomatoes and a bit more oil and cook for another 5
minutes over a high heat stirring constantly. Add the drained chick peas and carrots. Add enough water to cover it all but just. Add the spices, mix, taste and cover. Cook for 15 minutes over a low heat or until the carrots start softening.
Add a bit of water if you feel it needs it.Taste again. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and the fresh baby spinach.
Mix all well until the spinach softens. It should not be too watery. Its not a soup but a vegetable stew. If you like you can add a bit of chilli powder or cayenne pepper when adding the spices.
Serve in bowls and finish with a nice dollop of fresh thick yogurt. If you are not serving straight after cooking then skip the step where you add the lemon juice and the spinach and do this after reheating. Spinach wilts very fast and almost disappears so be generous with it. It also helps thickening the stew.
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