Spicy chickpeas with cauliflower, raisins & olives

File under “C” – Chickpeas, cauliflower, chard, cumin, cayenne…

Everyone in my family has started on the winter cycle of sniffles, so I thought it would be nice to have something brothy and spicy – something that clears your head when you breathe in the vapors. We had this over pasta, but it would also be good with couscous or rice, or even with just a crusty loaf of bread. The seasoning is simple but slightly unusual – thyme, allspice, cumin, and as much cayenne as you like. “Raisins and olives?” you cry! In the same dish! Yes! They’re actually delicious together. The raisins impart a mysterious sweetness, and the olives lend their good old olive-y saltiness. Finished with a squeeze of lemon and topped with crumbled goat cheese, this easy, quick workaday dinner has a complex blend of spicy, sweet and tart that goes together perfectly, and makes it quite memorable.

Here’s Wild Mountain Thyme by the Tannahill Weavers. Bloomin’ heather!

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cauliflower (1 1/2 cups, maybe?) – chopped to bite-sized pieces
1 cup chard or other greens, finely chopped
1 tomato – roughly chopped
1/3 cup olives – chopped
2 T golden raisins – chopped
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t. thyme
1/4 t. allspice
1/2 t. cumin
cayenne to taste
1T butter
squeeze of lemon
crumbled goat cheese
plenty of pepper

Warm olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, then the garlic after a few moments. Add the cauliflower and sautee for a few minutes until it starts to brown a little bit. Add the chickpeas, olives, raisins and spices, stir to coat everything. Cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato, cook for a minute. Add water to cover everything and then stir in the chard. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked through but has a little bit of oomph still. Add the butter and lemon, taste for salt, add plenty of pepper, and serve! Over pasta, couscous, rice or however you like. Top with a crumble of goat cheese


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