Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Raisins over Brown Rice

Today I will be picking up the first box of my winter CSA. While it will be overflowing with vegetables I love, sadly cauliflower will not be making an appearance. So before all my cauliflower cookery is just a distant memory, I've got a few fantastic cauliflower recipes to share. Chickpeas and raisins are common companions to cauliflower in Indian cooking, no it should be no surprise that they work so well together here. Garam masala, many of its iterations, has the perfect blend of smokiness, sweetness, and spice to harmoniously blend the flavors of the caramelized cauliflower, hearty chickpeas, sweet raisins, and nutty brown rice. Acidic accents of ginger, lemon, and cilantro brighten and lighten, creating the perfect blend of freshness and heartiness for a late fall meal. Full of Indian flavors, yet using the best of local produce, this is an expertly crafted mix of local ingredients and international flavor.

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Raisins over Brown Rice
adapted from The Fresh and Green Table by Susie Middleton
serves 4

1 pound cauliflower florets, each about 1 1/2 inches long, with one flat side
1 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup dark raisins
3/4 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
4 lemon wedges, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Spread the florets, cut-side down, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast until tender and well browned on the bottoms, 20 to 22 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions or in a rice cooker. When done, set aside and keep warm.

3. Combine 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 2- or 2 1/2-quart nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garam masala, and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until softened, and some onions are beginning to brown and crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the raisins, chickpeas, and cooked rice, stirring until heated through. Remove from heat.

6. Add the cooked rice mixture and cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and stir well but gently. Add the lemon juice, cilantro, and almonds and stir again. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Serve right away, garnished with lemon wedges (if desired).

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