17 February 2017

Red lentils with roasted vegetables

I love red lentils because they thrive on neglect--throw them in a pot with some water, start the heat and walk away, and eventually (pretty quickly, actually) they become a satisfyingly thick, chunky sauce. This recipe is an alteration from a New York Times recipe that works equally well as a stew or as a sauce poured over rice or pasta of any kind.  I also like it with a squeeze of lemon on top, but you do what you want. 

Roasted Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew

Serves 8

1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
black pepper to taste
1 ½ cup red lentils
5 cups water
lemon wedges for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lay the carrots in a roasting pan and toss with 3 tablespoons oil. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the carrots, add the onion and pepper, cover again and roast 15 minutes, until the carrots are brown and tender. When carrots are cool enough, cut them in 1/4-inch dice.

Warm 1 tablespoons oil in a saucepan. Add the carrot-and-onion mixture, the paprika, garlic and chili powders, and the cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the lentils. Add the water and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are falling apart. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, or as a thick soup, with optional lemon squeezed on top.

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