Spicy sweet potato, chickpea and barley stew
Chocfull of flavour and wholegrain goodness, this is an easy, spicy veggie dish that is endlessly versatile. Don't like sweet potato? Use good old ordinary potato. Fancy adding some peas or beans? Go for it. Cauliflower, courgette, carrots...all would be excellent in this stew. Keeps for at least 4-5 days, thus making it economical and a useful standby when you don't feel like cooking.
250g pearl barley
1 can chickpeas, rinsed in cold water
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 onions, sliced
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 litre tomato passata or 2 cans tomatoes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (increase if you like it really spicy)
1-2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder (Marigold's a good one)
cup of hot water
salt and pepper
* you could use other spices like cumin, cardamom and fennel seeds...
First, start cooking the barley in salted water. Follow the packet directions - when I made this the barley took about 90 minutes to cook through.
Next, in a large saucepan gently fry the onions until they're translucent and soft. Add the sweet potato.
Add the garlic, fry for a minute, then add the spices. Pour in the tomatoes, raisins, water and veggie bouillon. Simmer for 15-30 minutes, then add the chickpeas and barley. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes. If it starts to look thick, just add some more hot water so the stew doesn't burn.
And that's all there is to it. Eat the stew on its own, or with pitta bread. If you want to garnish the dish, parsley, coriander or a couple of fennel fronds (as in the photo!) give a nice contrast in colour...
When you re-heat the stew, add a bit of water so it doesn't catch on the saucepan.