It was a fluke that I found this recipe. The delightfully straightforward name says it all: Couscous with Chickpeas, Fennel, and Citrus. I was really looking for a vegetarian dish that used garbanzo beans. What I found was a light, delicious way to use fennel. Bright citrus, briny olives, caramelized fennel, and crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside garbanzo beans come together to create a flavor profile I never would have thought of.
My fiance is not the biggest fan of fennel, and even he agreed that this dish was very good. He even had seconds, which is a tried-and-true indication that he’s enjoying a dish. I thought it was delicious. It’s perfect right now because citrus is in season; I had the most delicious orange to use (I had to sit there and scrape the remaining flesh and juice off the peel while I stood over the sink after zesting and juicing it).
This recipe has everything. Texture, flavor, nuance, it’s easy to make, and it’s totally satisfying.
If I could change anything about the preparation of this recipe I would cover the bean/fennel mixture after adding the lemon to help create a little more of a sauce instead of cooking off all the liquid.
I served this dish with braised red cabbage (see recipe below). It’s one of my favorite sides, as well as a great way to use an abundance of red cabbage.
So, give them both a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Braised Red Cabbage
One small-medium cabbage head, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch strips
1/3 Cup Apple cider vinegar
1/3 Cub Water
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large saute pan. Turn on high heat, and bring to boil. Stir, cover, and turn heat down to a low simmer. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until it meets your desired crispiness/tenderness. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to pan. Taste for seasoning. GREAT as leftovers.