I've had a lot of love for my sides and side salads in your comments, Tweets and emails recently, but as most of my offerings are on the Summery side, I thought I'd try my best to come up with a few more sides that were suitable for Autumn. Think not as heavy and warming to go with Winter foods, but still a little bit comforting, and full of bright flavours. Sainsbury's recently sent me some of their Giant Couscous to try (I'd never used it before), and the guys at Salt Yard sent me over a copy for the Honey & Co. book to review (I will be writing a full review post from this brilliant book soon!), and the two came together in my head to create this slightly adapted recipe which is great to serve 4 as a side salad, or two of you as a main dish.
Pomegranate seeds and chopped, lightly toasted pistachios is a favourite of mine at the moment. If we're eating anything Middle Eastern at the moment, especially meat dishes I like to just sprinkle a few handfuls over the top. I also love how pretty the colours look; I've got a special Christmas recipe heavily featuring fresh pomegranate coming up in my Borough Market I'm so excited to share with you. We developed the outline for all of this years recipes for my column in the middle of the Summer, and I've been excited to share since.
- 200g (7 oz) Giant (Israeli) Couscous
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 80g (3 oz) Shelled Pistachios, roughly chopped
- Seeds from 1 Pomegranate
- 1 Small Bunch Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1 Small Bunch Fresh Mint, chopped
- Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper
Cook the couscous as per the instructions on the packet. I found it strange for couscous that mine instructed me to cook it in a pan of water until tender, but still with a little bite as if it were a pasta, but it worked! Meanwhile, chop and lightly toast the pistachios in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Be sure to keep an eye on them and keep tossing, as they turn and burn quickly! Also chop the herbs and pick the seeds from the pomegranate. (You can buy little tubs of pre-prepared pomegranate, but I feel 5-10 minutes of my life in the kitchen is worth the money I've saved as they are a little pricy in British supermarkets as the tubs are tiny. If you can get big tubs like the ones I could when I was living in California where you live, go ahead you lucky thing!)
Drain and rinse the couscous to remove excess starch that might make it sticky. In a large bowl stir in the oil, molasses and a good few grinds of salt and pepper until well coated. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.
I don't really have any seasonal meat suggestions to serve along side this (grilled meats are always a good idea, but I promise I'm on it!), but if you're after a few Autumnal sides to go with your meals this time of year I do have a few suggestions: my Baby Spinach, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad is good if you want to stay down the pomegranate route, Indian Spiced Potatoes are a family favourite to go with grilled veal at the French house, though as a student I used to eat them on their own as a meal, my Asian Butter Bean Salad is always a crowd pleaser when I serve it up at dinner parties, and the possibilities as to what you can serve my Mustard Mashed Potatoes with are endless.