Big Hunks of Cauli in Spiced Tomato Broth

SERVES: 4

This may be the ultimate weeknight vegetarian main – it comes together in about 35 minutes, and will fill your belly up right quick. The spiced tomato broth that the cauli cooks in is bright, cinnamony and delicious, but what really takes this dish over the top are the charred torn tortillas drizzled in honey that scoop it all up.

Active Time: # Mins

Total Time: # hrs

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Produce

  • 1 large head cauliflower (2 lbs)
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 lemons

Pantry

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato puree or passata
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • Tortillas or pitas, for serving
  • Honey, for drizzling

1. Do some prep:

  • Cut one large head of cauliflower into quarters through the root end, and keep the root and leaves intact so they hold together as wedges.
  • Peel and thinly slice 2 large shallots
  • Peel and thinly slice 6 garlic cloves (leaving one whole aside for grating later on.)

2. Sear the cauli:

  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once very hot, add the cauli wedges in a single layer (do this in batches if you can’t fit them all at once). Season the cauli all over with salt and cook, turning once to brown on the second cut side, until deeply browned, about 5 minutes per side. Momentarily transfer the wedges to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to low (it will still be quite hot) and add another glug of olive oil to the pot. Add the shallots, garlic, cinnamon stick and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring constantly until the shallots and garlic are softened but not quite brown at the edges, 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds, ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 cup of chickpeas (drained), and stir well.
  • Immediately add 1 ½ cups of tomato puree and 1 cup of water.
  • Cut one lemon in half, squeeze the juice of both halves into the pot, and throw the lemon halves in there as well. Season the tomato broth well with salt – it will need a fair amount

3. Braise the Cauli:

  • Nestle the cauli wedges back into the pot, and increase the heat to bring the tomato broth to a simmer. Once it simmers, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer (reduce the heat as needed so it’s not at a rapid boil) until the cauli is tender when pierced with a sharp paring knife, 25-30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning once tender.

4. Make the whipped Tahini and char the tortillas:

  • While the cauli braises, in a small bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup tahini, 1 finely grated garlic clove, the juice of 1 lemon, and ¼ cup warm water. The mixture will get quite thick and pasty. Keep adding water, little by little, until the tahini reaches a creamy drizzly, whipped consistency and lightens in color substantially. Season well with salt.
  • Just before serving, char some tortillas over an open flame, or in a skillet if you’re using an electric cooktop. Drizzle each tortilla lightly in honey and season with salt.
  • Divide the cauli, chickpeas and tomato broth among serving bowls. Tear the tortillas into large irregular shards and nestle in the bowls.
  • Drizzle each bowl with some of the tahini and more olive oil. Serve hot!