Thursday, February 07, 2013


Maftoul is a Middle Eastern pasta that is basically a very large version of couscous.  It can be eaten as a side, cooked and added to soups and stews, or made into a salad with lots of fresh vegetables.  Here I have cooked it with onions, spices, and chickpeas and served it with chicken for dinner.

1 1/2 cups maftoul
1 can chick peas
2 large onions, sliced thinly
olive oil
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper
parsley (optional)
plain yogurt (optional)

In a large pot add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions and a little salt.  Fry the onions over medium until tender and they begin to caramelize.  Remove and set aside.  Season chicken generously with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and a little pepper.  Add a touch more olive oil to the pot, if necessary, and add the cubed chicken and brown on all sides.  Return onions to pot, reserving 1/4 cup for later.  Add 3/4 of the chick peas and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through and then remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan add a bit more olive oil and the maftoul, remaining chick peas, and reserved onions.  Season with a teaspoon each of cinnamon and salt and enough pepper and nutmeg to taste.  Add enough water to cover the maftoul and bring up to a boil.   Lower heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until maftoul is tender and then cover and turn off heat and let set 10 minutes more.  Serve maftoul with the chicken and sauce on top and garnish with parsley and a generous dollop of plain yogurt, if desired.

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