Maftoul with Kale and Garbanzos


A lot of people complain about it, but I think substitute teaching is tons of fun. Obviously I’d rather have my own classroom and the chance to see the same kids every day, but until that happens (fingers are crossed and dozens of applications are in for the 2010-2011 school year!) I actually love jumping from Kindergarten to 8th grade history to 4-6th grade special ed every day. It keeps things exciting, and I love getting to see so many different classrooms.

I’ve learned that I LOVE working with junior high kids, I haven’t forgotten as much algebra as I thought I had, and that I really don’t think I’m cut out to be a kindergarten teacher (but I kind of already knew that). One of the downsides is my unpredictable schedule. Some days I’m done by 1:30, other days I’m done at 4 and have a 45 minute commute home. Add that to my training schedule, second job, and tutoring commitments, and there are some nights I just don’t have the energy to cook an elaborate meal. So I have a nice little arsenal of things like this.

It may not look like much, but this is a quick dinner that uses only a handful of ingredients and is really healthy. The cinnamon in the couscous and garlic with the kale and garbanzos combine perfectly for a slightly exotic, supremely satisfying dinner that comes together in less than half an hour.

I don’t really like regular couscous, but maftoul (also called Israeli couscous) is bigger and much better. Look for it at a Middle Eastern grocery store, or order it online. It’s definitely worth seeking out!

Recipe:

Serves 3-4

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 large onion, diced
1 cup maftoul
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt
pepper
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch tuscan kale, thick ribs removed, torn into strips
1 can garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup water

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to turn golden, 5-7 minutes. Add the couscous, water, cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is all absorbed and the maftoul is soft.

While that’s simmering, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a wide skillet. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the kale and 1/4 cup water, and cook over medium-high until the kale is tender. Stir in the garbanzos to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon some maftoul into a dish then top with the kale mixture.

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