I meal plan most weeks...(how revolutionary, right? Because NO ONE else in the history of the planet does this...). Most weeks, I enjoy meal planning. I like deciding things (most of the time). I like eating and I like cooking. And I also like shopping, and view grocery trips as the one time per week I can pretty much buy whatever I want (well, within reason. And within sales. And all that stuff).
I don't know if you ever have these types of conversations, but every week when I'm doing my meal planning, I always ask hubs if there's anything he wants to have. He usually responds with a non-committal grunt or a whatever you like. Depending on my mood, I could be fine with this (due to aforementioned love of deciding things), or I might be just irritated, because I'm tired of deciding all the food, all the time.
That said, it's not that hubs not interested, he's just genuinely not picky and enjoys food. Wish I could say the same for the kids (my mini foodies are pretty adventurous, but they still turn their nose up every so often at my offerings...and by every so often, I mean like once a day. Ugh).
Anyway....so when I asked hubs what he wanted this week, he responded that he'd really love if I could make something Moroccan with couscous. I'm always up for that, so I figured I'd give it a go. I usually do some sort of version of million dollar chicken, but I was out of chicken and also out of salsa, so I took a look through the cupbards and used what I had on hand. My meal planning was a little bit altered this week because I'll be getting weekly veggie delivery starting on Wednesday, so I didn't really stock the veggie drawer the way I normally do. I think any sort of tagine/stew dish is improved with use of nice fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro...but I didn't have them.
Brilliant being that I am, I did my mise en place photo before I made the dish, so I did change the recipe up a little bit from the photos. As well, I'm recommending a bit more intense flavour, because while I wouldn't call mine bland, I do think there was room for more spice (this would also be great a lot spicier, but when cooking for tiny palates, I've learned to dial back the heat, and keep the sri racha on the table).
Speaking of tiny palates, Lil Z informed me that this dish was 'kind of not too bad.' And then asked if she could have it in her snack. So I'll call that a win. And R happily gobbled until she ran out of raisins and chickpeas.
Any sort of stew/tagine dish is easily altered to use what you have on hand - sweet potatoes/carrot/squash would be delicious in this, and like I mentioned before, I think some cilantro or fresh parsley would be great to brighten the flavour as well. I really enjoyed the saffron flavour, but if you don't have it on hand, you could just add some turmeric (wouldn't be the same, but would still be completely delicious).
All this to say, while I think this particular combination is delicious and healthy, don't let the ingredients be a barrier - use what you have and adapt and experiment. Taste along the way and you can't go wrong. I had this on the table in just over 30 minutes, which I think is great for a scratch, weeknight meal. It makes a lot as well (8 servings), so it can either feed a crowd, or give you leftovers, the gift that keeps on giving. :)
Also, learn from my fail. That beautiful Le Creuset braiser you see in the photos? Yah....about that. It was way too small for this recipe. After I added the first can of chickpeas, I had to transfer to a larger pot. So avoid doing double dishes and just make this in a large soup pot (mine was 6 qt....you definitely need at least a 4 qt pot for this).
This recipe is for a meal, so I'm writing this in a realistic way for you to prepare it. Trust me, if you have your ingredients assembled (but not chopped), you can get this on the table in just over 30 minutes. I recommend using stewed tomatoes for this because they have added onions/peppers and aren't as strongly tomatoey as diced tomatoes. It's really up to you though - diced tomatoes will work.
30-minute cauliflower and chickpea tagine with couscous
2 stalks celery
2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1.5 T cumin
1 T paprika
1 T ground coriander
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t black pepper
1 head cauliflower
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 c water
2 cans chickpeas
(2 c couscous + 2 c water, salt and pepper)
1/2 c raisins (or other dried fruit like apricots)
optional: fresh chopped herbs, about 1/4 c
1. Put large, heavy-bottomed pot on the stove and heat oil on medium.
2. Meanwhile, chop onion and celery. Once oil is hot, add celery and onions. While they cook, chop your garlic and measure your spices (just measure them into a small bowl). You can also start chopping the cauliflower at this point. After about 3 minutes, add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the spices, and stir for another 30 seconds. Your pan will be a mess, but this is okay. Open up the can of stewed tomatoes, and pour it in the pot. Add the water, and stir to deglaze the spices from the bottom of the pan.
3. While the tomato/water/onion mixture comes to a boil, finish chopping your cauliflower. Add it to the pan (at this point, you should taste the broth in the pan to see if it's too your liking and adjust accordingly).
3. Open the cans of chickpeas and rinse and drain. Add them to the pot. Stir, bring to a boil, and cover. Let it cook covered for 10 minutes, on medium/medium-low heat (you want it boiling, but not going crazy). There's not a TON of liquid with this recipe.
4. Put some water in your kettle (you only 2 cups, so for expediency, just put what you need in the kettle). Measure 2 cups of whole wheat couscous into a casserole dish or pot (basically, anything you can cover) Add some salt and pepper. When the water boils, pour 2 c boiling water on the couscous, stir and cover for five minutes. Then fluff with a fork (yes, this is how easy it is to make couscous!).
5. Once the tagine has cooked for 10 minutes, remove the lid and check the cauliflower for doneness. Once the cauliflower is done, add the raisins and then you're good to go! Serve with hot sauce and chopped cilantro.
It's really delicious and so quick to pull together. Hope you enjoy!