Thursday, 26 April 2012

Pomegranate & Feta Bulgur Wheat Cous Cous Salad

There seems to be one standard topic of conversation today: the weather. Our chatterings have stubbornly circled the subject like flies buzzing lazily around an enclosed room. Anyone venturing outside has returned sullen and soaked through - ah April, we'll be glad to see the back of you and your persistent showers.

I don't know about you but I was certainly in need of some sunshine to brighten up my lunch break. As the English weather wouldn't provide, I decided to get my fix in a culinary form: pomegranate. I adore its mouth-watering sweet flavour and sharp tangy after taste which makes it an ideal partner to salty, milky feta cheese.

A pairing like this needs a hearty foundation which is why this recipe calls for bulgur wheat. It's basically the butch big brother to cous cous - chunkier and meatier with more bite. It's easy to prepare and is ideal for salads; adding spices in the soaking liquor effectively self-dresses the salad so it just needs finishing off with simple lemon juice and mint. Ideal for prepping in advance and assembling at the last minute! Unfortunately, bulgur wheat isn't suitable for those that are sensitive to gluten but it can be substituted for quinoa or rice if necessary.

Pomegranate & Feta Bulgur Wheat Cous Cous Salad
Serves 2 – 4

1 ripe pomegranate
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green chillis, chopped
200g feta
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of turmeric
100g dried bulgur wheat
½ veg stock cube
Juice of half a lemon
Small bunch of mint

- Boil a kettle of water with enough water for around three cups of tea.
- Meanwhile, place the stock cube, dried spices and bulgur wheat in a deep bowl. Once boiled, pour water over the dried ingredients until it is completely covered by ½ inch of water. Stir well and set to one side.
- Sweat the onion with a drop of oil over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it does not stick, until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and chilli and allow to soften and the flavours mellow for a minute or two. Set to one side off the heat.
- Remove the seeds from the pomegranate and crumble the feta. Remove the leaves from the mint and roughly chop or chiffonade if you’re fancy.
- Check the bulgur wheat; it should be plump and tender and have absorbed the liquid. If it’s not tender, leave it to soak a little longer. If it’s tender but still has excess liquid, drain through a sieve.
- Assemble the salad by tossing the tender bulgur wheat with the softened onions, pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta. Dress with mint and lemon juice.

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