Thursday, 15 November 2007

AM Scrape

This morning I had a bit of a scrape. Not the violent kind. Just a scrape of the windscreen. Jack Frost visited these parts for the 1st time in a while last night and it was certain confirmation that winter is upon us. And that is fine by me.

A lot of people agree that this is their favourite time of the year. Just 6 weeks before Christmas, and despite the pressure of shopping, the general public are already stocking up for the festive gorge. Me included. I cannot wait, and it is difficult not falling to temptation and slicing a slab off my already 3 week old Christmas cake as it wafts a spicy alcoholic fume at me each time I walk into the kitchen.

I'm still making good use of the never ending glut of root vegetables that keep coming my way. Just as I finish one week's vegetable box delivery, another is waiting for me to knock up a rooty feast. Today it was time for one of those sweet, spicy and scent packed North African inspired stews.

Any root slow braised in spices such as cinnamon, cumin and ground ginger will have their natural sweetness enhanced, and it is completely no fuss. Just 10 minutes of chopping and stirring then into an oven, 90 minutes later you will have a satisfying and warming exotic winter stew. 1 hour into cooking, add a bird such as chicken or a seasonal piece of game like pheasant and this will keep the carnivores happy. Omit the meat and add some chickpeas for the perfect vegetarian supper.

Spiced Honey Slow Braised Root and Chicken Stew
Feeds 4

1 swede, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 squash or small pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbps tomato purée
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tin of tomatoes
300ml water
1 tin of chickpeas
2 tbsp honey
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 - Pre-heat the oven to GM3, 160 degrees C.
2 - Heat the oil in a casserole dish and add the onions, cooking until soft for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato purée and spices and stir for 2 minutes, then add all of the vegetables except for the chickpeas if using.
3 - Add the tomatoes and water and bring to the boil. Place into the oven for 90 minutes.
4 - After 1 hour of cooking, stir in the chicken and/or chickpeas along with the honey and place back into the oven for a further 30 minutes, ensuring that the chicken is cooked through.
5 - Taste for seasoning. Serve with plain cous cous with a good scattering of a fresh herb such as coriander or parsley and perhaps a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds.


Joanna said...

That sounds LOVELY ... and I have a feeling that it would be a very useful recipe - minus the chicken, of course - to serve up to a vegetarian, alongside a chicken stew or roasted chicken for the carnivores.

Thanks for sharing, David!

Rosie said...

This is wonderful comfort food for this time of the year. We need good roots in our stews and this one fits the bill. Very nice recipe!!

You have a lovely Blog and I have really enjoyed my first visit here. I will be visiting on a regular basis now!!

Thanks for adding me on your Blog, I have also added you to mine :)

Julia said...

Oh my God is it only 6 weeks until Christmas???

Wendy said...

Sounds wonderfully nourishing. Perfect November food. :)
Tagged you for a meme, if you're interested. See my site for details.

Cynthia said...

David you are making me want to go get some root veggies and some meat and set-a-pot-a-braising.

Anonymous said...

I love root veggies roasted or braised. I'd probably add a game hen in the last hour :) Thanks for the recipe.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

David, your stew look very, very nice!! :)

Answering your question about onion soup - I’m not sure…. I use cubes for almost all soups so I thought that this one need it too. I will try next time without cubes and I will let you know :)

susan said...

Yummy . And I love frosty mornings too .

susan said...

Oh yummy

Aimée said...

Christmas cake??? Did I hear about this or are you just keeping it secret from us? :) I would LOVE to know what goes into your fruitcake.

Sticky Sweet and Sour Aubergines

This is a recipe I've slightly tweaked a few times from Sabrina Ghayour's fantastic cookbook Bazaar, a wonderful book with a huge se...