Merguez and Chickpea Stew

January 24, 2019

Merguez and Chickpea Stew

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Merguez and Chickpea Stew

It was around this time last year that I started working on a recipe for Harira Soup. There is something about the cold post-Christmas air that brings out the need for warming North African flavours. This year, after my weekly trip to Naas Farmers Market I have been inspired to use an ingredient that I haven’t seen around these parts too often – Merguez Sausage. This spiced sausage made predominately from lamb but with a little beef to improve the texture was part of my favourite lunchtime treat when I worked at Gaillot et Gray back in 2016. I would squeeze it out of it’s casing and onto fresh sourdough bread, spread it like butter and put it into the wood-fired oven until cooked through. I would then add a little of their pizza sauce and some Emmental cheese before it went into the oven again until the cheese was melted and bubbling – I didn’t have it everyday, I swear!

I quite like this stew as it is but the last time I made it, I also had a head of romanesco doing nothing in the fridge. I simply roasted it in a really hot conventional oven before putting it on top of the stew and drizzling with the yoghurt dressing. It worked a treat with the nuttiness and texture of the romanesco adding a great deal to the dish. If you are in a bit of a hurry or as an alternative to the roast romanesco and yoghurt, preserved lemon and coriander dressing here, you can simply stir in a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves towards the end of the cooking time. Ladle out into bowls and drizzle with some natural yoghurt and lemon juice (see picture at bottom).

Serves 4

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Onion (finely chopped)
pinch of Chilli Flakes
pinch of Dried Oregano
4 large Merguez Sausages (roughly chopped)
500g Baby Potatoes (halved)
2 heaped tsp of Harissa Paste
a couple of drops of Rose Water (optional)
2 tin of Chickpeas (drained)
1 400g tin of Tomato Pulp/Chopped Tomatoes
10g Fresh Parsley (finely chopped)
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

For the Romanesco Topping:
1/2 head of Romanesco Cauliflower (broken into small florets)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

For the Dressing:
6 heaped tbsp Natural Yoghurt
1/2 small Preserved Lemon (skin finely chopped, flesh discarded)
15g Fresh Coriander (finely chopped)

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, chilli flakes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, stir well and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured.

Meanwhile put the romanesco onto a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Season and put into a 220 degree C. conventional oven for 30-35 minutes. If you only have a fan oven, put them in at 165 degrees C. for 40-45 minutes.

Turn the heat on the pan to medium and add the merguez. Allow to colour a little before adding the potatoes. Season before adding the harissa and rosewater (if using). Give everything a good mix and allow to fry for a couple of minutes before adding the chickpeas and tinned tomatoes. Fill the empty tomato tin with water and add this to the pan too. Bring to the boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for 40-45 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Mix in the chopped parsley.

Meanwhile mix the dressing ingredients together and taste for seasoning. It shouldn’t need any salt as the preserved lemon should season the dressing perfectly.

Ladle the stew into bowls and put a couple of tablespoons of romanesco on top. Generously add the dressing to the top and serve with crusty bread.

Merguez and Sausage Stew



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