Soothing Bay and Cinnamon Pearl Coucous with Tomatoes


Pearl couscous, also known as giant couscous, Israeli couscous or mograbieh, is a variety of couscous with fat, chewy grains, roughly the size of peppercorns. You should be able to find it in the World Foods section of your local supermarket or in any Middle Eastern grocer. Here, pearl couscous is partnered with soft onions, tomatoes and cinnamon for a blissfully easy and totally comforting midweek meal.

Cinnamon is more often seen in sweet dishes than in savoury, but its affinity with the acidic sweetness of fruits such as apples, pears and blackberries also makes it well suited for tomato-based sauces like this one. Its gentle warmth tempers the fruitiness of the tomatoes, while the bay leaves lend a deep, savoury aniseed flavour.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
500g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon dried oregano
300g pearl couscous
Pinch of salt

Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium pan, then add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, oregano and a generous pinch of salt. Put a lid on the pan and leave the tomatoes to cook over a low heat for 20 minutes.

While they soften, cook the pearl couscous in the boiling water for 7–8 minutes, or until tender, then drain. Tip the cooked couscous into the tomato pan, stir and season well, then serve immediately.

  ©Charlotte Bland, 2015

©Charlotte Bland, 2015