This dish is a cross between a casserole and a stew. It is cooked stove-top, much like a stew, but is much more like a casserole in texture. The quinoa and chickpeas are simmered with warm, earthy spices, and balanced with the sweetness of dried figs and sautéed fennel. Recipe by Dreena Burton.
In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, onion, red pepper, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, fennel seed, paprika, dried basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir through, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes.
Then add quinoa, chickpeas, water (start with 1 ½ cups), and bay leaf and stir through. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover and let cook for 18-22 minutes.
Once quinoa is cooked, and most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in dried figs, remove from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add an extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve, drizzling individual portions with olive oil and a sprinkling of nuts if desired.
Note: If you don’t have red pepper, you can substitute chopped carrot, or even chopped celery – though the celery won’t be as sweet or add bright color to the dish.
Note: After this dish is cooked, keep it covered before and after serving portions. It will get a little dry if left uncovered. Also, as it stands, the heat from the pot will continue to cook the quinoa and so it will absorb more water and get drier. If needed, have some water boiled in your kettle, so you can stir a couple of tablespoons before getting a second helping!