This cheap and cheerful recipe is a great favourite in our family. It’s a nutritious, filling dish and the quantities given here may easily be increased to feed a crowd. The basic recipe is suitable for a vegetarian or gluten free diet, but fish or meat may also added to create a quite different dish according to taste.
This quantity serves 4 people as a main course but will serve more as a side dish.
You will need:
300g of dried green lentils, soaked in cold water for a couple of hours beforehand
1 courgette, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of chilli powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of madras curry powder
a vegetable stock cube for seasoning (omit for a gluten free diet)
n.b. feel free to replace any of the above vegetables with any you prefer
- cook the carrots in a pan of water until they are beginning to soften. Keep the cooking liquid as this will be used for braising the lentils – make it up to 1 pint of liquid with water if necessary
- preheat the oven to 180°C
- sauté the onion, celery and courgettes in a little oil and butter in a hob/oven proof casserole dish
- add the spices to the pan and sauté for a further minute
- add the carrots and lentils to the pan, mixing everything together well
- add approximately 1 pint of liquid (the carrot cooking water + enough water to make 1 pint)
- mix everything together, put a lid on the casserole dish and then transfer it to the oven
- cook the lentil dish for approximately 40 minutes, checking occasionally whether more liquid is needed. If so, just add a little boiling water
- when the lentils are cooked, remove the dish from the oven. Add the chopped spring onion and then crumble the vegetable stock cube into the mixture, stirring well until the cube has dissolved
This dish is tasty and satisfying on it’s own, but for the meat eaters of the family there are several ways to make it different:
- add some diced chorizo about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time
- brown some chicken thighs separately and then place them on top of the lentil mixture before it goes into the oven
- when the lentils are nearly cooked, fry some meaty sausages to serve with them
I dedicate this recipe to Lucy, Rebecca and Lydia, the young vegetarian members of the family.
This looks delicious – might give it a go on Sunday!
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