After we posted this tip from Herbivoracious on making fluffy couscous, several of you wanted the recipe for the delicious-looking chickpea stew served over top. We asked Michael at Herbivoracious if he would mind sharing the recipe, and he very kindly obliged!
Read on for his helpful ingredient guide and delicious recipe... From Michael: I included a picture of a spicy chickpea stew that I served over the couscous, but I didn't say how to make that. Apparently folks have been asking for the recipe, and I'm more than happy to oblige!
It really is very simple: you cook chickpeas or open a can, roast some cauliflower, and then stew it all up with onions, garlic, and vast quantities of spices, but not necessarily a ton of heat. When you are used to using spices by the half teaspoon, this can seem a little intimidating, but trust me - they are what gives this dish the deep, luscious flavor.
A note about the ingredients: this dish will certainly turn out fine with canned chickpeas, but if you have the time it is really worth it to soak and boil your own. To me it seems that there is a big improvement in texture and flavor. Also, be sure your spices are reasonably fresh. If you bought them more than a year ago, or they taste like powdered cardboard, it might be time for a trip to the store! Preserved lemons can be a bit hard to track down if you don't have a middle eastern specialty shop handy. Some of the larger gourmet retailers carry them - Mustapha's Moroccan is a common and tasty brand.
Spicy Chickpea Stew with Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 4 as a main course over couscous
4 cups cooked chickpeas - drained and rinsed, or soak 2 cups dry overnight and boil until tender
2 heads cauliflower
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
Anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons cayenne depending on your heat preference
1 preserved lemon, minced (or juice from 2 fresh lemons and zest from 1)
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
Flat leaf parsley or cilantro to garnish
Optional: dry harissa, zatar or other spice power to garnish
Cut the cauliflower into moderate sized florets, and cube the stalks. Toss with 1/4 c. olive oil and a little salt, and roast at 400ºF (using convection if available) until quite tender and starting to caramelize.
In a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil over a medium high flame. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinammon, fennel seeds, and cayenne and stir rapidly. When the spices are fragrant (maybe 30 seconds), add the chickpeas and some water and turn down to a simmer.
When the cauliflower is done, add it to the pot, along with the lemon.
Start with 1 T. kosher salt, and keep adding until it tastes right. Add more water if needed to achieve a stew-like consistency. Simmer awhile longer so that some of the chickpeas dissolve a little. Be sure not to let them scorch!
At the end, add the black pepper and do a final check on the salt, spices, and acid. Serve over couscous, garnished with the parsley or cilantro. Dust the plate with the dry harissa or zatar if using. Pass a yogurt based sauce (with cucumber or mint or dill) and a hot sauce (preferably wet harissa).
(All images and text by Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious)