Meatless Monday: Festive couscous
A gorgeous, colorful dish that can be served as a side or main course.
One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is Nigella Lawson’s, Christmas. I bought it about five years ago, right after I got married, when I was living in England. Mom, Dad and Sharon were coming for Christmas and I was equal parts ecstatic and terrified. I couldn’t wait to have my family in my new home, but the thought of taking the lead on the big dinner made my palms sweat. I needed a holiday meal that was both foolproof and classically British. Who else to go to but Nigella Lawson? She didn’t let me down. I use this book every year.Skip to next paragraph
Three Many Cooks
Veteran cookbook author, Pam Anderson, and daughters, Maggy and Sharon, believe that just about anything worth being part of happens in the kitchen. Each week they share their thoughts about recipes, cooking, eating, and anything that comes with it (which in their world, is just about everything). There are three cooks in their kitchen. Sometimes that’s too many, but usually it’s just right.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
My mother-in-law was visiting this past weekend and sharing recipes with me that she used to make for the family during the holidays. I couldn’t help but pull out Nigella’s Christmas. She and I sat transfixed, on the edge of the bed, and looked through that book, page by page. It’s simply gorgeous: festive and fun, but classic and warm. Nigella does a Christmas special on BBC every year that makes you want to crawl through the screen and join her in her cozy London home. This woman knows how to celebrate.
As we thumbed through the book, I noticed a small, but beautiful plate of couscous that I hadn’t seen before. Festive Couscous. The recipe was easy, but the dish was gorgeous. Nigella had it as a side, but I thought I’d ever-so-slightly modify the recipe and make it for dinner. For weeknight cooking, I’m looking for simple and delicious, meatless meals that I can get on the table in a hurry and that don’t leave me with a mess.
I served this with a simple salad, bread and a few artisanal cheeses. Andy was delighted and so was I, especially because it gave me a little frisson of excitement: the holidays are coming!
Nigella’s Festive Couscous
Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main course
1 box (7.6 ounces) plain couscous
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Bring water to a boil in a pot, add coucous, 1 tablespoon oil, salt, raisins and spices. Stir to mix. Cover with lid, turn off heat and let sit for about five minutes.
Remove lid, fluff the couscous with a fork, add remaining oil and stir. Reserving some for garnish, stir in pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
Related post: Brad Farmerie’s Edamame, Feta, & Sundried Tomato Salad
Sign-up to receive a weekly collection of recipes from Stir It Up! by clicking here.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.