This is a busy time of year, let’s face it! Planning for winter and the Christmas holidays is in full force from mid-November onwards, and irrespective of which traditions you enjoy there are many opportunities to celebrate and enjoy with friends and family over the next few weeks.
For some though, this is the perfect time of year to escape to warm climes and sun-kissed beaches, and there are plenty of places to choose from: Morocco for comfortably warm days and cool nights; New England for snow and a classical Christmas getaway; or Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for all the Caribbean infused Winter sun you could wish for.
With its volcanic landscapes, pristine white beaches, turquoise lagoons, and unique pink reefs, the pinnacle of Winter travel for some, though, is Mauritius. The climate is predictable with gentle breezes to keep the heat down, and fewer visitors in November and December.
But if you are not able to travel between now and the New Year, you can still enjoy a taste of the one of the easiest and most satisfying one-pot Mauritian-inspired dishes around: based loosely on Daube de Poulet, our version includes a little spice for some extra Winter warmth.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp good quality curry powder
4 cardamom seeds slightly crushed (discard the pods)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cinnamon stick (remove before serving)
450g chicken thighs, deboned, and skinned, cut into bite size pieces
2 medium-size potatoes, chopped in small pieces
400ml canned chopped tomatoes
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 stem fresh lemon thyme (remove before serving)
1 tsp sugar
1 organic chicken stock cube
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves to garnish
1. Heat a large, heavy pan on a medium heat and dry roast the spices. Add the oil and cook the onions until softened.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and red pepper and let them cook gently for two minutes.
3. Add the chicken and stir them around the pan to brown then add the potatoes.
4. Empty the tomatoes into the pan, and fill the can with freshly boiled water and use this add this to the pan, also.
5. Finally add the fresh tomatoes, thyme, sugar, and chicken stock. Season to taste.
6. Let this simmer with the lid on for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through, and the potatoes are tender.
7. Remove the cinnamon stick and thyme, sprinkle the chopped coriander on top and serve direct from the pan with rice, or with roti / farata flatbread.