End of summer and early Autumn are when vegetables are often at their peak of flavor and perfect ripeness for this Colorful Vegetable Couscous. Be sure to share this wonderful dish with friends and loved ones.
- 2/3 Cup dried chickpeas or cannellini
- 1/2 pound zucchini, thickly sliced
- 15 ounces can of chickpeas
- 5 Cups water if using dried chickpeas
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 Cups precooked couscous
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- 1 1/2 Cups vegetable broth
- To prepare dried chickpeas, sort through them, discarding any pebbles or other foreign material; rinse thoroughly.
- Put them in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes; cover and let stand for 1 hour.
- Drain thoroughly. Return to saucepan. Add 3 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 1.5 hours, adding hot water occasionally to keep them covered with water. Add a pinch of salt and continue simmering for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender.
- If using canned chickpeas, discard liquid, rinse and drain.
- Vegetable preparation: Heat oil in a very large skillet over low heat. add onions and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned. Add cumin and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add chickpea liquid or water (about 3 cups), salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add carrots and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, zucchini, and chickpeas.
- Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Reserve 1.5 cups of the vegetable broth for cooking the couscous and keep it warm.
- Boil the remaining vegetable broth, stirring often, for about 5 minutes to concentrate its flavor.
- Whisk in tomato paste and taste for seasoning.
- Quick Couscous Preparation: In a medium saucepan combine reserved vegetable broth and 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in couscous, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cloves.
- Cover pan immediately and let stand, off heat, for 5 minutes.
- Pour remaining olive oil over couscous or cut remaining butter in small pieces and scatter over couscous.
- Cover and let stand for 1 minute.
- Fluff couscous with a fork to break up any lumps, tossing it until oil or butter is absorbed.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and keep warm.
- To serve, pile couscous in a cone shape on a large platter.
- Spoon some of the vegetables around sides and serve the remaining vegetables and broth from a bowl or tureen.
- Serve in shallow bowls so that each person can moisten his or her couscous with broth to taste.
- Accompany with hot pepper sauce.
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