With temperatures rarely rising above zero at the moment there is plenty of talk about the desirability of ‘comfort food’. But, for me, this doesn’t manifest itself as plates heaving under the weight of carbs and oozy cheesy layers. In fact, despite the cold, I still crave lighter food but I want that food to deliver layers of texture and bight flavours. This super simple aromatic stew of plump chickpeas, a veritable storm of spices and voluptuous pomegranate molasses topped with garlic and tahini yoghurt, fresh dill, toasted pine kernels and juicy pomegranate arils delivers just that. I pretty much live on this during the colder months because it makes me feel all sunshiny inside but it’s also lovely served at room temperature in the summer. Try it with lashings of red wine and crusty Arabic bread.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Lebanese 7-spice mix (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, fenugreek, black pepper and cloves)
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp dried mint
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pomegranate arils, for garnishing
Pine kernels, lightly toasted for garnishing
Fresh dill, finely chopped for garnishing
For the tahini yoghurt:
1 garlic clove, crushed
A generous pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp light tahini
400g Greek yogurt
How I make it
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion. Turn down the heat, partially cover and allow the onion to cook for 15 minutes until they are soft and sweet.
Add the spices, mint, passata, pomegranate molasses, chickpeas and 100ml of boiling water. Simmer uncovered for around 15 minutes adding more water, if needed, to deliver a soupy consistency.
Meanwhile, mix the garlic, sea salt, tahini and yoghurt together adding a little cold water to create a creamy sauce.
Serve the chickpeas in pretty bowls, with a dollop of the tahini yoghurt sauce, toasted pine kernels, pomegranate arils and dill.