Maftoul, Palestinian Couscous with Chickpeas

Maftoul was one of those dishes I recall being present at pretty much every family party growing up. Different from Israeli or Moroccan style couscous, it simmers in an aromatic broth of chicken, cinnamon, and onion, which really adds a unique and savory flavor profile to the dish. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by using Earth Balance instead of butter and swapping chicken broth for a vegetable-based broth. (I usually use onion stock or a vegetarian chicken broth, which you can find at your local natural foods supermarket.) -------------------------------------------------------- Maftoul (Palestinian Couscous) 2 cups maftoul (Look for a pasta called 'acini-de-pepe'.) 1/3 cup butter or margarine 6 to 7 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water 2 large onions, chopped 1 cinnamon stick 1 20-ounce can of chickpeas Salt and pepper to taste 1. In a pot, lightly brown maftoul (acini-de-pepe) in butter. Add broth and/or water (about 3 cups) to cover the maftoul. 2. Combine with 1/3 can chick peas, salt, pepper, and cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let it all come to a fast boil. Lower the heat; cook until the maftoul is tender and water is absorbed. 3. In a pot, saute onions until light brown. Add the rest of the chick peas, broth, and/or water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until done. Serve while hot.

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