Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel, and Citrus

I dream of Sunday afternoons spent in the kitchen baking. I envision myself pulling fresh cinnamon rolls from the oven and completing the icing on the perfect, moist yet fluffy cake. Then the weekend rolls around, reality sets in, and errands and chores become more important than baking a cake. The dream of filling my kitchen with fresh breads and cakes seems much better than the reality of the dishes and mess and cleaning that come along with baking these things from scratch.

Between Pinterest and TheKitchn, I’m gathering quite a collection of recipes I want to try. Since I already know I have a folder full of untried recipes at home, I am becoming seriously selective about recipes I print or repin on pinterest. I think most people should be more selective about the things they are pinning, but that’s a whole different topic for another day.

I found this recipe on TheKitchn a few weeks ago. I knew it would be great for our meat-free Lent. I loved that it seemed fast and easy. C loved that it had kalamata olives in it. In fact, he kind of made me add extra olives because 10 just did not seem to be enough.

While the color of the dish reminded me of Johnson County beige (an analogy only people from KC might understand), I felt like the citrus was really evident and added a lot of flavor to a dish that could have been otherwise quite bland.

This was also the first time I’ve cooked with fennel and I must say…WOW! Raw fennel smells a little like black licorice (which I hate) and tastes a little like an onion. Weird, I know. But cooked, it gets just a little bit sweet, retains its crunch well, and makes me long for the next time I get to cook with fennel.

Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel, and Citrus
Serves 2-4

1 large fennel bulb with fronds
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) cooked and drained chickpeas
10 Kalamata olives, halved and pitted
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant couscous

Trim fennel and cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Reserve fronds for garnish (we chose not to garnish ours and just threw the fronds away).

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add coriander, chickpeas, olives, and lemon juice to pan and stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, juice the orange into a liquid measuring cup and top off with water to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Add liquid to a small saucepan along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

To serve, fluff couscous grains with a fork and spread on a dish. Spoon chickpeas and fennel over couscous and garnish with fennel fronds.

No comments: