It's one of those grey days where I'm too bummed to go out to the shops for food, which means it's time to retreat to the pantry where I have cans upon cans of chickpeas (thank Costco for that).
I've had a squash in my cupboard for the past 6 months. So, that was my challenge - one small squash and some chickpeas. Bonus points for use of the leftover half can of coconut milk in the fridge.
A Softly Spiced Chickpea Squash Simmer
(inspired by a pumpkin recipe from Nigel Slater's Tender I)
1 14oz can chickpeas
1 small delicata squash (but really, any squash or pumpkin will do)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb size knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 lime leaves (use 2 stalks lemongrass, or the zest of one lime if you don't have the lime leaves)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
3 whole cardamon pods, lightly crushed
1 dried whole chili pepper (or two minced fresh, seeded chilies)
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
½ tbsp canola oil
½ tbsp mustard seed
palmful chopped cilantro
1. Drain and rinse chickpeas, set aside. Peel squash and seed, pulling out tough inner fibres. Chop into bite size chunks.
2. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for about 3 minutes, softening without colouring. Add ginger and garlic, cooking, stirring constantly for another minute. Add lime leaves, coriander, turmeric, cardamon pods and dried pepper, cook for about 30 seconds to allow the spices to bloom. Add in chickpeas, squash and stock.
Partially cover and let simmer until squash is just tender, about 20 minutes (this will, of course, depend on the kind of squash you use). You may need to add more liquid if the mixture looks like it's drying out.
3. Once squash has reached the right consistency, stir in the coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Let simmer gently while you complete step 4.
4. Heat remaining oil over medium low heat. Once hot, add mustard seeds and cook just until they begin to pop. Mix oil and mustard seeds into the chickpea-squash mixture. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
The lime leaves are for decorative purposes only! Don't eat them.