This spicy, smoky, flavorful chick pea and pepper stew isn’t really Spanish, and it’s not really North African either. It’s an English person’s attempt to pull those flavors together (without the authenticity of preserved meat). Gibraltar sits uneasily as a part of Britain, attached to Spain, and dangling out into the Mediterranean, close to North Africa. Gibraltar has been in the news lately and so when I asked the family to name this dish, they called it Gibraltar Jumble.
I’m often told that vegetarians really miss bacon more than any other meat. That isn’t true for me. I miss Chorizo, not as a snack to eat on its own, but as a flavoring for other dishes. Over the years I’ve developed ways of synthesizing those spicy flavors to give dishes a Chorizo taste, but without the donkey parts.
This recipe calls for a lot of herbs and spices, you may think I’ve mixed up my teaspoons and tablespoons, but I haven’t, to get the smoky, spicy complex flavor to permeate every mouthful, whilst allowing the veggies to still taste of themselves, you need to add a lot of spice. I call the spice mix Norizo, nobody else finds that amusing.
Those spices get cooked in a good glug of olive oil. Don’t worry, the dish still ends up with much less fat in it than you’d get if you made it with chorizo.
- Prep time:
- Cook time:
- Ready in:
- Yields: 4
- One third of a cup good olive oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 1 red chilli pepper – very finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic – sliced
- 1 large Spanish onion – thinly sliced
- 3 red or yellow or orange peppers – sliced
- 2 cans chick peas/garbanzo beans – drained
- 6 large tomatoes – seeded and roughly chopped
- 6 veggie sausages
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp cornflour
I love my Le Crueset pans and dishes, I intend for them to last me a lifetime and have no doubt that they’ll outlast me. However, they are expensive.
Lodge make a version at about one fifth of the price. It’s not as good as the Le Crueset. The lid doesn’t fit perfectly, and the top handle can be a bit iffy. Sometimes the finish on the inside isn’t perfectly smooth. Once you know all that you can make a decision. If you plan on loving your pan, using it almost daily and passing it one to someone in your will, then go with the Le Crueset. If you want a good, functional pan, at an affordable price, that will cook really well for years, then save yourself $250 and go with the Lodge.
There are cheap alternatives, for sale in supermarkets, but they’re often low quality, and they break, so not a real bargain.
- Heat the oil in a large, thick bottomed pan.
- Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar, or just bash them with something til they break open.
- Add the spices and cook until your kitchen smells great, about a minute.
- Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute.
- Add the onions, turn down the heat and cook them on medium, stirring occasionally, until they start to caramelize, taking care they don’t burn, about 10 minutes.
- Add the peppers, cook and stir, another 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, stir and cook until they start to break down, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, stock, oregano.
- Add the sausages, cook for 5 minutes more.
- Taste the sauce and season to taste.
- Mix the cornflour with 3tbsp cold water and pour into the pan, stirring around, so it all thickens a little.
A mortar and pestle makes for great cooking. You can grind up spices yourself rather than buying salt-laden mixes, and you can churn out your own pesto, fresh off the plant.
Because they can be heavy, it’s worth checking that any mortar and pestle you buy online comes with free shipping, like this one, or you can end up paying more for that than you do your item.
Serve with fresh crusty bread to soak up the sauce, Spanish Style, or if you are feeling more North African, then use the flatbread recipe here. For an extra hit of family friendly goodness, you could try Green Monster Bread with spinach in instead.
Purists can leave out the veggie sausages, and just enjoy Gibraltar Jumble as a vegan garbanzo stew, but as I’m often feeding people who fear instant death if they don’t eat meat every day, I add veggie sausages and they happily live another day.
Chick Peas Or Garbanzo Beans?
What are these scrummy little balls of affordable protein and fiber called in your house? Is it a regional thing? Did you have to call them something else when you moved to a new location?
Chick Peas Or Garbanzo Beans?