Sausage and Chickpea Tagine

I stole this one from Fiona Smith, who published it in the July 2015 issue of Cuisine magazine as Merguez and Chickpea Tagine. Merguez is a spicy mutton sausage of North African origin [the word is derived from the Berber word for ‘sausage’], and I did not have any to hand, nor any notion of where I might find same here in Christchurch so I used Cumberland sausages instead. I had to make a few other very minor adjustments but I think that you would agree that the end result justifies things. Thanks, Fiona.

1 cup chicken stock.
2 tblsp honey.
Juice and zest of a lemon.
½ cup chopped dried apricots.
1 tblsp cornflour.
2 tsp ground cumin.
1 tsp ground coriander.
1 tsp turmeric.
2 tsp paprika.
½ tsp ground ginger.
1 tsp cinnamon.
Dash cayenne pepper.
Salt to taste.
6 Cumberland sausages, pricked.
50g butter.
2 medium onions peeled and cut into wedges.
1 400g can chickpeas, drained.
2 cups diced pumpkin.
½ cup coriander greens, chopped.

Mix the stock, honey, lemon juice, zest, apricot and cornflour together in a small container and whisk together until the honey has fully dissolved and set aside. Do this at least an hour ahead of time in order to let the apricot pieces soak thoroughly. Mix the dry spices and the salt together in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

Set your tagine on a hob over a low heat. On another hob, heat a wide skillet or sauté pan over a hot flame and melt the butter. Brown the sausages all over, cook for 10 minutes and transfer to the tagine.
Add the onions to the hot pan and fry until golden. Reduce the heat to medium and add the dry spices. Cook for a minute or so, stirring continually, then add the stock and honey mixture. Bring to the boil and stir continually until thickened then add the chick peas. Stir through to mix thoroughly, then pour carefully into the tagine.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and dot the mixture with the pumpkin pieces. Cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, sprinkle with the coriander, and serve with white rice or couscous.

Serves: 2-3.

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