Creamed lentils and beetroot

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
With a surfeit of lentils in the cupboard, Nigel Slater turns one batch into a creamy, mildly spiced dish (ginger, garam masala, creme fraiche) with a flash of deep red beetroot swirling through.

NOTE: Beetroot takes an age to roast.

To speed up the process, halve the unpeeled beetroot, place on a large piece of tin foil, then trickle over a little oil and 1 Tbsp of water.

Season, then scrunch the edges of the foil together to form a parcel. Roast at 200degC until you can pierce them easily with a skewer, then peel the skins. Alternatively, steam the beetroot over boiling water until tender.

Serves 4

5 beetroot

4 tbsp olive oil

300g brown lentils

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp peanut oil

2 tsp garam masala

a large thumb of ginger

250ml vegetable stock

200g creme fraiche

sprouted seeds to finish

Method:

Wash and trim the beetroot and place in a metal baking dish. Pour in the olive oil, season and cover in foil. Bake at 200degC for an hour or until tender to the point of a knife. Peel the beetroot and discard the skin. Alternatively, boil it in lightly salted water until tender, drain and slip off the skins with your thumbs.

Bring a deep pan of water to the boil and add the lentils, let them come back to the boil, remove froth from the surface then lower the heat and leave to cook for 30 minutes or until just tender. Salt the water only near the end of cooking.

Peel and slice the onion; cook in the peanut oil until soft and golden. Grate the ginger and stir in, then add the cooked, drained lentils. Pour in the stock, simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the creme fraiche and check the seasoning. Blitz the beetroot to a rough puree.

Divide the lentils between 4 warm bowls. Spoon the beetroot puree into the centre, then stir lightly through the lentils and finish with a few sprouted seeds or fresh herbs.

 — Guardian News & Media

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