This stew recipe is based on the lovely chachouka in River Cottage Veg Every Day. There are no eggs this time, but even more veg, with potatoes and chard adding to the rich pepper and tomato base.
I really like the earthy, pungent tang of saffron in the dish, but the stew is still delicious without it.
– 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
– 1 large (or 2 small) red pepper(s) (about 250g in total)
– 200g chard
– 500g new, waxy or salad potatoes, scrubbed
– 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
– 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
– A large pinch of saffron strands
– ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
– 1 tsp sugar
– Juice of ½ small lemon, or to taste
– Sea salt and black pepper
– About 30g toasted flaked almonds
– A handful of coriander leaves
– Extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
1. Place a large flameproof casserole or small stockpot over a medium heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a minute or two.
2. Add the onion with a pinch of salt, stir well, then cover and lower the heat. Let the onion sweat, stirring once or twice, for about 10 minutes.
3. In the meantime, quarter, deseed and thinly slice the pepper(s). Separate the chard stalks and leaves and cut both into 1cm thick slices.
4. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks.
5. When the onion is nice and soft, stir in the garlic, then add the red pepper, chard stalks and potatoes.
6. Replace the lid and cook gently for about 20 minutes until the pepper is softened, stirring now and again to ensure nothing sticks and burns.
7. Add the tomatoes with their juice, crushing them with your hands as you do so. Add the saffron, smoked paprika, sugar and some more salt and pepper and stir well.
8. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, stirring regularly.
9. Toss in the chard leaves, cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, or until they have wilted. Stir the leaves into the stew. Take off the heat.
10. Add the lemon juice then taste the stew and adjust as necessary, with more salt, pepper and/or lemon. Serve scattered with the toasted almonds and coriander and trickled with extra virgin oil.
Leaves: Use spinach instead of chard – there’s no need to cook the stalks separately, just wilt the spinach in at the end of cooking.
Herbs: Finish the dish with mint or parsley rather than coriander.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food.
He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as campaigns such as Hugh’s Fish Fight. River Cottage has given millions of TV viewers a taste for great cooking since 1998, when Hugh first brought his famous food ethos to Channel 4.