Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Vegetable and Puy Lentil Casserole

Kitchen Play List: Nickelback ~ The Long Road Album

Today the weather was too gloomy even for this autumn/winter loving addict. And it's the first Tuesday Mystery Ingredient Challenge Day and it was the humble Puy Lentil.

So I knew the perfect recipe for our evening meal. This casserole is easy to make..and comforting but not in the stodgy way that some casseroles can be. In fact its sauce is more broth based. I found it a few years ago in a generic vegetarian cookbook that has no author, just a publisher so I can't give the credit where it's due. Annoying! 

You'll need a very large casserole dish for this recipe as the amount of uncooked veggies definitely fill up my largest one. You start the recipe with stock, puy lentils and a clove studded onion. I know..sounds freaky but just go with it. Then whilst this is cooking away in the oven you prep the veggie mountain! lol. Not a hardship for me as I love chopping veggies. Then you toss the veggies in with the lentils and let it cook down. Simple. 

20 minutes before the end of the cooking time I usually sprinkle some chopped Kale across the top of the casserole and then return it to the oven. The kale is just tender when you serve up. We like this casserole because the flavour is just 'different' and comforting. The mix of veggies are great and with the kale added in it's a complete meal in a bowl. 

Vegetable and Puy Lentil Casserole with Kale. A lighter option for cold days.
Vegetable and Puy Lentil Casserole

1 onion, peeled and left whole
10 whole cloves
8oz Puy or green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 3/4 pints vegetable stock
2 leeks, sliced
2 potatoes, dice
2 carrots, chopped
3 courgettes, sliced
1 celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice - opt

Preheat the oven to 180'C/350'F/Gas Mark 4. Press the cloves into onion. Put the lentils into a large casserole dish, add the onion and bay leaf and pour in the stock. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. 

Tada! A cloved onion - in case you were wondering what one looked like! lol

Remove the casserole from the oven. Take out the onion and discard the cloves. Slice the onion and return it to the casserole with the leeks, potatoes, carrots, courgettes, celery and red pepper. Stir thoroughly and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and return to the oven for 1 hour. (If adding in a green, cook for 40 minutes then scatter with the green and then return to the oven for 20 minutes! ~R~)

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the lemon juice and serve straight from the casserole.