You've been there, I'm sure: a houseful of hungry teens, and the cupboard is virtually bare. So is the fridge and freezer, apart from a pack of pork sausages, which are not enough to feed two thin cats, let alone six long-limbed late-night revellers.
Here's how to stretch a few ingredients into a warming rib-sticker of a stew that takes just half an hour to prepare. If you don't have chickpeas to hand, use tinned beans. If you don't have any of the veggies I've listed, use whatever you find languishing in the bottom of the fridge.
If you don't have teens, use every ingredient I've listed here to make a most delicious and satisfying quick supper. For this dish, I used gorgeous pork, garlic, white wine and parsley sausages from Open Veld, which are made using organic, free-range meat, and are available at Cape Town's Neighbourhood Goods Market. (My fellow blogger Jamie Who recently posted a lovely recipe using these sausages - check out his Wholewheat penne with pork sausage, blistered tomatoes and chilli.)
This dish is enhanced by adding a sliced chourizo sausage (fry it along with the onions) and is doubly good topped with cool Greek tzatziki.
Quick Supper Dish: Spicy Chickpea, Sausage, Potato and Tomato Stew
6 medium potatoes
3 T (45 ml) olive or sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 sticks celery, sliced
4 carrots, scraped and diced
1 red pepper, sliced [bell pepper]
1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
6 pork sausages
1 T (15 ml) vinegar
3 T (60 ml) tomato paste
a tin of chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tsp (10 ml) Tabasco sauce, or similar hot sauce, to taste
1/2 cup (125 ml) wine, white or red
1½ tsp (7.5 ml) cumin
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
2 tins chickpeas, drained
milled black pepper
chopped fresh parsley or coriander [cilantro]
a tub of tzatziki (cucumber, garlic and yoghurt dip)
Cut the potatoes into chunks and cook, in plenty of boiling salted water, until just tender. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery, carrots and red pepper and cook, over a brisk heat, until just softened. Add the chilli, garlic and salt and cook for another minute, without allowing the garlic to brown. Tip onto a plate and set aside. Add the whole sausages to the same pan and fry for five minutes, or until their skins are browned.
Cut the sausages into short lengths using a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Tip off any excess fat and return the vegetables to the pan. Add the vinegar, stand back, and stir briskly to loosen any sediment on the bottom of the pan. Now stir in the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, Tabasco, white wine, cumin, and paprika. Allow to bubble for two minutes, then tip in the chickpeas.
Drain the potatoes and add to the pan, along with a ladleful or two of boiling water in which you cooked them - just enough to create a rich gravy. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes, adding more boiling water if necessary. Season with pepper and add a little more salt if needed. Serve hot, topped with chopped fresh parsley or coriander, and a dollop of tzatziki.