I’m a big fan of beetroot. I’ve enjoyed eating this pretty red vegetable for many years. The beetroot that I used to eat in my childhood was typically the pickled version, forked out from a jar. These beetroots emerged on a barbeque spread in summer, at teatime on Christmas day or upon a plate of cheddar ploughman’s at a pub lunch (often the only vegetarian dish). As I’ve grown up, I have since discovered many more ways to eat beetroot. This Beetroot, Lentil and Raisin Stew is the latest discovery (hot on the heels of the trusty Beetroot and Yoghurt Curry).
This recipe uses warm, Moroccan style flavours to bring out the sweet, earthiness of the beets. This works well with the new little beetroots that you can get at this time of year in the UK (i.e. Spring). I also think that it is the earthy sweetness that makes beetroot so very appealing to little people. Or, is it actually the potential to paint hands, face and floor with bright red beetroot juice? I dare you to find out.
This recipe yielded 3 adult portions and a couple of toddler sized servings.
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 100g brown or green lentils
- 300g beetroot, peeled and cubed (relatively small cubes, around 1cm)
- 100g raisins
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped finely
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 preserved lemon, chopped finely (optional)
- lemon juice
- Put the onion, lentils, beetroot, raisins and vegetable stock into a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with the lid on. Stir occasionally.
- Whilst the lentils and beetroot are cooking, make the spice paste. To do so, gently fry the garlic, cumin, turmeric, paprika, tomato puree and honey in the olive oil. Stir continually for a couple of minutes until the ingredients come together to form a paste. It should be fragrant and dark red in colour.
- Add the paste to the lentil and beetroot mixture. If using, add the preserved lemon to this pan too. Continue to simmer for around 40 minutes or until the lentils and beetroot are both cooked. Keep an eye on the liquid in the pan and add more stock or water if necessary.
- Once the lentils and beetroot are soft, remove from the heat and add lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice or cous cous.