Had some harissa left from this tasty dish I made last week; ever since, have been contemplating ways to incorporate this flavorful, highly addictive condiment into other dishes. By late fall, am craving something warm and comforting. This chickpea and pumpkin stew checks all my boxes:
Spicy (as little or as much harissa as you like)? Check.
Seasonal (pumpkin/winter squash)? Check.
Cold-weather approved? Check, check.
A mixture of herbs and spices — cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, saffron, and a touch of cayenne — tomatoes, chickpeas, and harissa simmer harmoniously together. The base of this stew is whole wheat Israeli couscous, layered with roasted winter squash, yogurt, and fresh mint. You’ll want to serve this stew with a side of harissa (can never have enough harissa). The mint adds a refreshing element that ties all the flavors together.
Chickpea and Pumpkin Stew with Harissa
2 cups 1-inch diced pumpkin or winter squash, (tossed in olive, smoked paprika, salt and pepper)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Israeli (whole wheat, if you can find) couscous
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon roasted ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon saffron
pinch of cayenne
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon harissa (recipe here), plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (from dried or canned)
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Yogurt for drizzling on top
Fresh mint, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the pumpkin/squash for 35-40 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Set aside.
Heat a medium-sized pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add the couscous, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, and continue cooking 10-12 minutes, until the couscous is al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a soup pot or deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, saffron, cayenne, and salt and pepper, and sauté ~ 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add the harissa, chickpeas and 2 1/2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Ladle half of the soup into a blender, and blend to a smooth puree (or transfer to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender). Return the puree back to the pot and stir to combine. Add more stock if needed (should be a thick but creamy consistency). Taste and reseason with salt if needed. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Place some of the reserved couscous in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Top with roasted squash, a drizzle of yogurt, and harissa (you can thin out the harissa paste a bit with a little stock). Garnish with chopped mint.
Note: Save time by preparing the harissa and couscous in advance.