Chickpea Couscous Croquettes

Makes 24 croquettes

2/3 cup hulled, raw sunflower seeds (optional)
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 or more garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

If using sunflower seeds, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread seeds on a baking tray. Remove any shells or discolored seeds. Bake 5-7 minutes, until seeds smell nutty and darken slightly. Grind seeds in a food processor for 30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add chickpeas and process until well mixed. Leave mixture in food processor and set aside.

In a heavy, 1-quart saucepan, combine couscous, tomato juice and red wine. Stir and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat. Cover pot and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until couscous has absorbed all the liquid. Remove pot from heat and let sit for 5 more minutes.

Add cooked couscous to chickpea mixture along with remaining ingredients except for olive oil. Mix well, stopping processor and scraping down sides once or twice, until smooth.

Lightly oil your hands. Shape 2 to 3 tablespoons of chickpea mixture to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 24 balls. Flatten each ball to form a croquette about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Brush each croquette with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake croquettes for about 15 minutes. Turn them over, brush with oil and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.