Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moroccan Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

I confess, I can not attest to how authentically "Moroccan" this dish actually is.  I just thought with the the bold flavors and colors and being served over couscous and all, it sounded a lot better than "Curried Cauliflower with Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas over Couscous."  That would've been a mouth full. Phew!

Anyway, last week, Good Friday and Earth Day fell on the same day.  In honor of my Catholic, Lent-observing roots and in attempt to reduce our Carbon Footprint for the day, we had this delightful Vegetarian meal.  I'd had a head of cauliflower in the fridge and for some reason had really been wanting to pair it with curry.  Now curry can be a bit of an acquired taste, but once you like it, it's hard to stay away.  Coming from someone who took awhile to appreciate curry, if you don't think it's for you, keep trying.  One of these times I think you'll end up pleasantly surprised! 

Finally, this is one of those magical recipes that tastes even better the next day.  Make extra (or leave some leftovers) and pack into individual servings for lunch over the week.  You'll feel prepared and exotic!

Moroccan Cauliflower and Chickpea Currymakes about four large servings
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 piece fresh ginger (about 1 inch chunk) peeled and minced
2 tablespoons curry powder 
2 small tomatoes chopped, or 1/2 15.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped cilantro leaves (about a 1/4 cup or more to taste)
hot cooked couscous or rice (a gluten-free option!) for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower and sweet potato pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Spread in a single layer (using two baking sheets if necessary) and  roast, tossing occasionally, until sweet potato chunks are tender but still firm and the edges of the cauliflower pieces are browned (about 20-25 minutes).  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat.  Saute onion, ginger and curry powder stirring frequently until onion is softened and the curry and ginger are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring to break down the tomatoes.  Add 1/2 cup water, chick peas, cauliflower and sweet potato and raise heat to high.  Cook, stirring frequently for a couple minutes until sauce is reduced and thickened.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in about 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, reserving the rest for garnishing individual servings.  Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous.

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