I can never make a recipe the same way twice; it always requires tinkering. Tinkering with an old favorite, tfaya, yielded this toothsome and warming chickpea and tomato stew over couscous that's fragrant with ras el hanout. I can eat it and almost believe I'm in North Africa, where surely it is not as miserably cold as it is here south of the Mason Dixon line tonight. —Kayb
3 to 4
For the tfaya
diced dried dates or figs, or raisins
freshly ground pepper
saffron threads, crushed
dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked and drained, or 1 can, drained and rinsed
Cut onions in half vertically, slice thinly, and saute in butter and olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven until soft. Add all the spices, the honey and the water, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until the onion is well caramelized. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
When onion is golden brown, add chickpeas and tomatos. Simmer, covered, while making the couscous.
Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, ras el hanout, stir, and remove from heat. Cover and let steam for five minutes. Fluff with a fork.
To serve, put a serving of couscous in a wide bowl, shaping so it's higher at the edges. Put tfaya in the center. Garnish, if desired with slices or wedges of a boiled egg.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!