This stew is wonderfully comforting with a spicy kick. During lockdown I have been cooking with less meat and making the food stretch to 2 meals so I found a tin of chickpeas in the kitchen cupboard and saw the chilli flakes next to the oven and thought it would be a winning dish. I felt excited seeing the sausages, all bunched up tightly like neat shoelaces on a school kid. Their plumpness proudly tight against the plastic packaging with sausages ends tied up at the top. Any sausages will do for this dish. When my son was at primary school he had an obsession with tinned hot dog sausages and spaghetti hoops weekly. His Aspergers condition also affected what he liked to eat and I wasn't allowed to fiddle with it. Now he cooks and enjoys eating with such flair and critics me on every dish not with marks out of ten, but grunts of 'really good' or the feared comment of 'average'. This was a dish I was going to win full marks but I needed my spices to help me.
He snuck into the kitchen halfway, commenting "What are chickpeas doing in here?" whilst giving it a quick poke with the wooden spoon. After serving the food, his only complaint was that he didn't like Coriander sprinkled on top, and that after years of using it, he had actually never liked it, so he had a bit of parsley instead. Leftovers the next day only had one sausage left so I added rice for his lunchtime meal. The smell was amazing and his comment of "This is really good Mum" meant I had scored. I hope you love this dish too. To make it stretch simply use more chickpeas as they are cheaper than sausages. And fried stale bread if you have it. Lots of it.
6-8 sausages that you have - tinned, supermarket or posh artisan types
1 can of chickpeas including the juice or soaked 400g
Handful of Tomatoes, the smaller and sweeter the better but tinned also good
1 tsp of ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper
100g of Stale bread
3 cloves of garlic (2 for the stew and 1 for the breadcrumbs)
200g of vegetable or chicken stock
Olive or Vegetable Oil
Coriander - optional
Saucepan & Frying Pan
Fry the sausages whole in a large tbsp of olive or vegetable oil. Add the sliced onions and garlic. Cook and sweat down. When the sausages are brown remove from the pan and put aside. Add the Cumin and coat the onions evenly. Add the Chilli Flakes. Now add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the Chickpeas including liquid and return the cooked sausages to the pan. Throw the fresh or dried Thyme in and season with salt and pepper. Let the stew bubble away on a lowish simmer and stir occasionally. If the liquid reduces too much then simply add the vegetable or chick stock. Cut the remaining garlic and fry in a bit of oil in a pan. Add the breadcrumbs and toast until brown. You use whole bits of thinly sliced bread too if you don't have breadcrumbs. 5 minutes before serving, take the sausages out of the pan, discarding the bunch of Thyme. Using a hand blender whizz the mixture together so that it becomes thick and coarse but you can still see some of the chickpeas. Add the sausages back to the stew and give a good stir. Serve with a sprinkle of Coriander and the breadcrumbs on top. You can also serve with rice to make the meal stretch.