Friday, May 10, 2013

Moroccan Spiced Garbanzo Beans with Toasted Couscous

This was a nice dish somewhat reminiscent of takeout in flavor. In a restaurant, a similar dish might be called a tagine. This version isn’t quite authentic, though—I’ve made it quite a bit thicker than the broth-y stew that would be traditional. I think this helps keep the bed of couscous fluffy and not soggy. Feel free to increase the liquid if you prefer it the other way. You could make it spicier as well with cayenne or red pepper flakes if you wish.

This toasted couscous (modified from a non-vegan and not quite as healthy recipe) can be used with a lot of different meals. It is a nice upgrade from a plain bed of couscous. The basic method, with adjusted cooking times, can be applied to other grain products such as orzo or Israeli/pearl couscous or even bulger.

Moroccan Spiced Garbanzo Beans with Toasted Couscous

Moroccan Flavored Garbanzos with Toasted Couscous

1 ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cup plus ½ cup onions, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cardamom

1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans

salt, pepper, and/or lemon pepper or other low salt seasoning to taste

water if necessary

Toasted Couscous:
1 Tbsp oil
½ cup onions, sliced thinly
2-3 tsp garlic, minced
2 cup dry couscous (whole wheat or tricolor would be fine)
2 cups water or veggie broth
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp slivered almonds (can be toasted or not)
2 Tbsp chopped green onions or chives

Spiced Garbanzos with apricots
For the Garbanzos: Saute garlic and ½ cup of the onions in 1 Tbsp of the oil until softened and lightly browned; add a pinch on salt if you like to speed things up. Puree the rest of the onions with the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until slightly chunky but mostly liquid. When the garlic and onions in the pan are done, pour the tomato-onion mixture into the pan. Cook several minutes over medium heat, stirring until reduced and a bit browned. Push the sauce to one side, add a little more oil to the other side and add the spices, toasting briefly (anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your pan and stove) but not letting them burn. Stir the sauce and spices together. Add the garbanzos and apricots. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Keep warm over low heat until the couscous is ready. Add a little water if things start looking too dry.

Toasted couscous w/ almonds and chives
For the Couscous: Saute the sliced onions with the garlic over medium heat until softened and somewhat browned. Add the dry couscous, stir to coat with the remaining oil and toast for 3-5 minutes, until it smells nutty and has slightly darkened. Add salt, lemon pepper and water/broth. Be prepared for it to bubble up somewhat aggressively. Stir briefly and quickly cover. Remove from heat and let sit for 7 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Spoon the Garbanzo mixture onto a bed of the couscous. Enjoy!

Tip: For recipes like this that call for quickly toasting a mix of spices, I like to measure out all my spices into a little bowl ahead of time, so that I can toss them all in at once when the recipe calls for it, instead of taking the time to measure them each into the hot pan individually, which delays and risks burning.

Garbanzos on a bed of couscous

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