This is a light and warmly spiced vegan, vegetable stew for a summer day. Wash 500g of small potatoes, shake them dry, then slice them as thickly as a £1 coin. In a wide, shallow pan warm 6 tbsp of olive oil over a moderate heat, then add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, occasionally turning them over and moving them around the pan, until they are pale gold. Peel 4 cloves of garlic and slice them thinly.
While the potatoes cook, halve 1 red pepper and remove its seeds, then cut each half into 8 slices and add them to the pan with the potatoes, together with the sliced garlic. Halve 500g of mixed tomatoes and add them to the pan, then strip 4 bushy thyme sprigs of their leaves and stir in with salt and a little ground black pepper.
Pour in 300ml of vegetable stock and stir in 2 tsp of harissa paste. Let everything come to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
Chop a handful of basil or coriander leaves, as you wish, and stir in, then bring to the table. Serves 2, generously
The amount of harissa is up to you. The amount involved here gives a warm level of chilli heat, aromatic rather than hot. Adjust it to your own taste.
Use other chilli pastes, depending on what you have in your fridge.
You can make this recipe more substantial by serving it with steamed rice, but couscous is a good idea, too. I like to fork chopped coriander or mint through the grain.
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