It’s been a long time since I added a recipe, so here’s one for the new autumn season.
We get a lot of beetroot in our vegbox. It’s something I’ve forced myself to eat to the point that I now don’t mind it – but it has to be roasted. Roasting brings out all the sweetness and softens the strong, earthy flavour. The same principle applies to fennel, which melts from shocking aniseed to soothing caramel after roasting.
Cooking beetroot is easy, but it’s not a Tuesday-night-just-got-home-from-work ingredient. But it requires only time, not effort, so it’s perfect for a Sunday supper on a chilly day.
2 tbsps olive oil
Sprigs of rosemary or thyme
200g green lentils
1 large bay leaf
For the dressing:
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps cider vinegar
1 tsp liquid sweetener (honey, agave, date syrup etc)
2 tsps pomegranate molasses (or replace with a mix of extra vinegar and sweetener)
2 tsps wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper
1. Put the 2 tbsps of oil in a roasting tray and place in the oven at 200°C/180°C fan to heat up.
2. Scrub, top and tail and peel the beetroot. Chop into rough 2cm chunks and season generously (salt helps soften the beetroot in the oven). When the oven is up to temperature, put the beetroot in the roasting tray and mix in the oil.
3. Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for one minute. Drain. Return to the pan with fresh water, a couple of herb sprigs and the bay leaf. Bring back to the boil and simmer as gently as possible until tender. About 25 minutes.
4. Chop the onion from root to tip (like a chocolate orange!) into eight segments. Core the apples then chop each into similar-sized segments. Once the beetroot’s been in the over for 15 minutes, add the apple and onion to it, along with some more herb sprigs (no need to strip) and mix thoroughly. Return to the oven for 30 minutes or so, re-mixing once.
5. Peel and crush the garlic glove in some salt. Add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or jar and combine. Season to taste and check the flavour. You want this to taste a little salty and fairly acidic to cut through the lentils and beetroot.
6. Once the lentils are cooked, drain and remove all the herbs. Return to the pan and, while still hot, mix with the dressing. Put the lid on while the veg finishes cooking.
7. When the beetroot has softened sufficiently, remove the herb sprigs then tip the dressed lentils into the tray to combine. Serve!
Do you have any other beetroot recipes for the coming months?