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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew with Couscous

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Five days a week, I drag myself out of bed at 4:45 am to hit the gym or my living room floor for a workout. I am by nature a pretty early riser, and I always prefer to get my workout out of the way first thing. There are days, however, where getting out of bed at that hour just isn't happening. These days are few and far between, mostly because the idea of working out in the afternoon repulses me. Props to those of you that can muster the energy to exercise after work or school. By the time 4:30 pm hits, I want nothing more than my pajamas and the kitchen!

The day I had this stew planned for dinner, I did not get up early. It was our first day back to work after the Christmas break and I hadn't been up that early in almost two weeks. I decided to "break myself in" to waking up early again and opted for sleep over exercise. Thankfully my fabulous husband offered (or at least accepted my request!) to make dinner so that I could squeeze a workout in before dinner. So, while I jumped around with Tony on one of the P90X videos, Ryan went to work on this dish.

Ryan pulled this meal off without a hitch...that is, until we realized he'd forgotten to cook the couscous! At that point, we were too hungry to care, and we enjoyed it as is. The couscous would've been a nice addition to sop up the juices, and I've included the original recipe below. I've said it before, but I just love raisins in savory dishes, such as in the Moroccan Stew. This was no exception. This meal was lightly flavorful--no one spice or flavor outdoing the others--and full of healthy ingredients. It was exactly what I craved after two weeks of major indulgence!

One Year Ago: Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew with Couscous
from Real Simple December 2010
*serves 4

-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-kosher salt and black pepper
-1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
-1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
-1/2 cup raisins (we used golden)
-1 5 oz package baby spinach, chopped (we used a bigger package for extra greens!)
-1 cup couscous

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes until onion begins to soften. Add cumin, ginger, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant (approximately 1 more minute).

2. Add tomatoes and their liquid (crush tomatoes with your hands as you add), chickpeas, cauliflower, raisins, and 1/2 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is slightly thickened (15-20 minutes). Fold in the spinach, cooking until wilted (1-2 minutes).

3. Place the couscous in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of hot tap water, cover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving with the stew.