Chickpea, Sweet Potato & Roasted Red Pepper with Homemade Harissa & Wild Oregano
This is a lovely vegan stew I made for my Sicilian family yesterday and we all loved.
It's simple but has so many layers of flavour - sweetness, smokiness, spice - a multidimensional dish.
The spices are ones we most commonly use in Sicily - black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and paprika. They are mild and give sweetness to the dish.
The main flavour comes from the Harissa - a Tunisian pepper paste featuring red peppers, cumin, caraway, garlic and olive oil. My mum made this using mild Calabrian dried red peppers, soaked in warm water and then ground to a paste with the other ingredients.
Last but not least, Sicilian fresh oregano. Don't skip this of you can (you can use dry alternatively): so vibrant!
2+2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
3 large red bell peppers, roasted, blackened skin removed, reseeded and coarsely chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp double tomato concentrate
1/2 tsp each of black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and paprika
2 tbsp harissa paste (you can use store bought or read below for homemade)
Salt to taste
A generous amount of fresh oregano to garnish
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wide pan and add the onion. Sauté till golden.
Add the sweet potato, season with salt and cook covered for 5 minutes to soften the potatoes.
Next, add the tomato concentrate, diluted in 2 tbsp of water, the Harissa paste. Mix well.
Stir in the cooked chickpeas, red peppers, adjust salt if needed and cook covered for another 5 minutes or until the oil separates.
Transfer to a serving plate, top with fresh oregano, the remaining 2 tbsp evo oil and serve hot or room temperature with bread.
For the Harissa, blend to a smooth paste:
Dried red peppers (we used Calabrian ones but any mild, non spicy dried peppers will do)
Roasted red peppers (blackened skin removed, reseeded and coarsely chopped)
1 tsp each of coriander, caraway and cumin seeds, toasted
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp tomato paste or concentrate
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil as needed
Salt to taste
Word of the Day
(oregano, pronounced o·rì·ga·no)