To say that this recipe is based on a childhood favorite is ironic–who ever heard of putting cranberries in Moroccan food?–but true. I always loved the original chickpea/raisin version. I was digging through my pantry trying to find a meal to go with my chosen chickpea protein source, and when I saw the couscous it just seemed like fate. No raisins led to the variation below.
Chickpea Cranberry Couscous
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 can chickpeas
dash olive oil
small pinch cinnamon
salt and pepper
couscous to serve
Place the onion and chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries, chickpeas, saffron, cinnamon, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are soft and the cranberries are swollen. Tear the leaves off of a few stalks of cilantro and stir in. Serve over couscous.
Recipe notes: For a more authentic version, use raisins instead of cranberries and cook some actual (bone-in) chicken with the onions. You should also take the skins off of the chickpeas by rubbing them between your thumb and forefinger. I’m too lazy to go to the trouble just for me, but it would be the appropriate preparation.
This recipe can be very cheap if you use raisins instead of cranberries, turmeric instead of saffron, and (if you’re hardcore) soaked dried chickpeas instead of canned. Vegetarian is also an option: just use good vegetable stock instead of chicken. Speaking of which, since this is a very simple recipe, it relies on you using good quality broth. Do it.
I used instant couscous which is easier to find and quicker to prepare; and made it with some of the boiling broth itself to enhance flavor. If you are using “real” couscous, go for the slow version of the recipe and use soaked dried chickpeas. It will take that long to steam the couscous anyway, so you can do it over the cooking broth (of which you will need more).