I ask you this: is there anything more comforting than a pie? No is the answer you're looking for, especially when it's -2 outside and you're so cold that your fingers are about to fall off.
However comforting pies may be, I'll admit it took me a little while to actually come around to the idea. I've never been a meat & two veg type of girl & I'm not overly crazy about roast dinners or anything really that involves gravy. Team that with the fact that I ditched all meat (except poultry) over a year ago and the fact that I'm not really very keen on pastry and you'll see why pies were never on my go-to list.
But then Bill Granger's chickpea, tomato & spinach cottage pie caught my eye & my mind was changed forever. This dish blew my socks off & even if i did think the idea of chickpeas in a pie was a bit odd, I listened to the voice of reason (that would be Bill) & I just got on with it - thank god for that!
So from now on I'm shouting HURRAH for chickpeas in a pie, HURRAH for the richest tomato sauce ever & HURRAH for the most amazing cheese & herb crust.
Well, what are you waiting for?
For 4 adult sized portions you will need:
Recipe adapted from Bill Granger - Easy
2 tbsp - olive oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves - chopped (or crushed)
1 red chilli - deseeded & finely chopped
2 tsp - ras el hanout (which I got from Tesco but I've also seen in Sainsburys)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas - drained & rinsed
250ml vegetable stock (i use swiss bouillon)
1 tbsp caster sugar
200g baby spinach leaves
1kg potatoes - peeled and cut into pieces
100g unsalted butter
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
25g fresh breadcrumbs
15g freshly grated parmesan cheese
And you will need to do this:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200/GM6.
2. In a large pan, heat your oil over a low heat & fry the onion for about 10 minutes until soft & beginning to caramelise. Then add your garlic, chilli & ras el hanout and fry for 1 minute.
3. Add your tomatoes, chickpeas, veg stock & sugar. Season well with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas are nice & tender. You'll need to stir this a few times to make sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil & add your potatoes. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until they are tender.
5. When your chickpeas are tender, add the spinach leaves & combine until wilted. You'll probably need to stir them in a few batches at a time.
6. Transfer the chickpea mixture to an over proof dish & set aside.
7. When your potatoes are done, drain, and return to the saucepan. Add your butter, and mash until fluffy. Season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper and then spoon on top of your chickpea filling.
8. Mix your coriander and breadcrumbs together in a small bowl & sprinkle over the mash topping. Then grate over your parmesan.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on top.
10. Serve immediately & enjoy!
And as an added bonus, all 3 of my kiddos
this dish (even if Flo did pick out the spinach) and there was not a single crumb left :)