I was recently up in Seattle for a conference, and also got the chance to visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousin, as well as some friends in the area. Win-win! My aunt and I made this amazing vegetarian dish for dinner one night...well, to be fair, my aunt mostly did the cooking and I stirred up the yogurt sauce. :) I have really enjoyed recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's two newer cookbooks (like this Israeli stew and these lentil galettes), but I'd never gotten a chance to look at their first cookbook -- it is definitely going on my wishlist!
This dish has quite a few components, but the combination is absolutely amazing. The base is a chickpea-tomato stew that's spiced with cumin and coriander. The stew is topped with honeyed sweet potatoes, which are pretty much the most delicious thing ever. The honey makes these reminiscent of a marshmallow-sweet potato casserole, without being over-the-top sweet. And, pairing the sweeter potatoes with the savory stew is really lovely. Finally, a tangy yogurt sauce cuts through the richness of the sweet potato and makes for a perfectly balanced dish. Yum!
Chickpeas and Chard with Honeyed Sweet Potato (adapted from Ottolenghi)
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 T tomato paste
14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cups chard leaves, trimmed and chopped
2/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, for garinsh
Salt and pepper
For the sweet potatoes:
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
Scant 3 c water
3-1/2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
For the yogurt sauce:
Scant 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 T best-quality olive oil
1-2 T minced fresh mint
Salt and pepper
1. Soak the chickpeas overnight with the baking soda. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas, place in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until tender. Add more water if needed. When tender, drain and set aside.
2. Make the sweet potatoes. Place the potatoes in a wide saucepan with the water, butter, honey, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer 35-40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the liquid has been absorved. Flip the potatoes halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce for the chickpeas. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add teh onion, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Fry 8 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute or so. Then add the tomatoes, sugar, and ground cumin. Continue cooking about 5 minutes over medium heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. Stir the chard into the tomato sauce, along with the cooked chickpeas. Cook for another 5 minutes, taste again, and adjust seasoning as needed.
5. Make the yogurt sauce. Whisk together the yogurt with all the other yogurt sauce ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. To serve, spoon the chickpea sauce into a serving dish. Arrange the sweet potatoes on top, and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Spoon the yogurt sauce on top before serving.