This is really warming winter food, with the root vegetables and pulses – very filling and satisfying too. You can add whatever herbs and spices you fancy; my suggestion of ground coriander and cumin makes it spicy without being hot. You can either cook it as a stew on the stove, or as a casserole in the oven.
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 750g (1½ lb) mixed root vegetables, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 175g (6 oz) split red lentils
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 225g (8 oz) canned tomatoes
- 750ml (1¼) pints stock
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1–2 teaspoons coriander
- 1–2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Chopped fresh parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan and put in the root vegetables, onion and celery.
Fry the vegetables in the oil, without browning them, for about 5 minutes, then add the lentils and garlic and cook them all gently for a further 4–5 minutes, stirring often.
Mix in the tomatoes and stock, put a lid on the saucepan and leave it to simmer away gently for about 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and the lentils pale golden and soft.
Meanwhile, fry the extra onion in the remaining oil for 10 minutes, then add the ground coriander and cumin and fry for a further minute or two to draw out the flavour of the spices.
Stir this mixture into the cooked lentils, then add salt and pepper to taste and the lemon juice. Scatter with a little chopped parsley before serving.
If you prefer to cook this in the oven, it takes about an hour towards the bottom at 200ºC, 400ºF, gas mark 6.
Taken from Rose Elliot's The Bean Book, published by Thorsons.
Photo by Ant Jones for Cook Vegetarian!