This was a new recipe for us (from Bon Appétit’s Oct, 2010 issue), but it sounded like a delicious and hearty vegetarian Sunday supper so we gave it a try. I say it’s a Sunday supper, simply because it is labor intensive...about 2 hours from start to finish (including 35-40 minutes simmering time). It’s the type of recipe that scares off a novice cook just based on the long list of ingredients and multiple steps, but in reality it is all very easy...just takes a bit of time to do all of the chopping and seasoning steps. Stay organized and prep everything (like your own little mise en place) before you start actually cooking and it will go just fine!
One shortcut is to use pre-ground spices...but for the ones it recommends toasting, feel free to still do that with the powder (just really keep an eye on it since it will burn super quickly) to really enhance the flavors. Also, the spiced chickpeas are a must...do not skip those! I found that they could use a bit more seasoning though so feel free to go heavy handed. A dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt on top of this dish would be a nice addition as well.