Feisty Chick Stew (Chickpea and Couscous Stew)

I'm a feisty chick.

Some days, I can be super witty and sassy and sharp as a tack. Other days, I am cool as a cucumber and relatively low-key. But, no matter what, I like to keep things light and fun.  Kind of like this stew I threw together last night in about 30 minutes. It has some color and spice, but cilantro adds light notes as well. It's comforting, yet bold and bright -- the perfect thing for a foggy, winter weeknight. (Although, I'm told we should really have had pizza last night, since Chris said it was "National Pie Day." How did I miss that?)

Feisty Chick Stew 
Olive oil cooking spray
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of curry powder
1-2 teaspoons garam masala (optional, but if you leave it out, you're missing out)
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, then diced (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, strained)
1 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken stock or broth
12.5 oz can of chicken, drained (or 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken breast)
Kosher salt
1 heaping TBS chopped cilantro (fresh)
1 cup cooked couscous
1/2 cup diced carrots (see note)
To Do:
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil spray, then turn stove on medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, tomato paste and seasonings, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and chicken and cook for another minute or so. (Stir gently)
  • Pour in the broth and stir to combine. Add salt to taste, and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cook your couscous according to directions, except add 1/2 cup of diced carrots to the water before you bring it to a boil.  
  • When the couscous/carrot mixture is done, gently stir it into the stew.
  • Adjust seasonings if needed and stir in the cilantro.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with pita bread or a few slices of cheese. This stew is so filling (and good for you, too!) you won't need much on the side. You can even make it without chicken and with vegetable broth if you want a more vegetarian-type dish. A great light dessert of mandarin oranges tossed with fresh chopped mint rounds out the meal.

I mean, really. Who needs pizza?