Lately I feel like a poster child for the Canal House Cooking series. I promise I’m not on their payroll; I just tend to gush when I’m truly in love.
The Lentils with Roasted Beets dish from the spring version (volume 6) of Canal House Cooking impressed everyone on Easter, which only deepened the love. It’s hard to serve ham, albeit gorgeous artisanal ham, to four almost full-time vegetarians. These lentils and some fish cakes loaded with fresh local flounder definitely saved the day.
Now while I love Canal House, I do prefer to change up recipes, mix and swap up ingredients, in order to entertain the specific palettes around my table. I come from a family of spunky Latinas who cringe when there isn’t cilantro in something. I replaced the parsley with cilantro and it totally worked in this dish.
If you hate cilantro – and I don’t know if we can be friends if you do – just replace it with fresh parsley. But seriously, the cilantro was so good. And the best part, besides the cilantro, is that I’ve got lunch for the week.
Pardon all the gratuitous photos. I just adored all the lovely colors. Some shots of the dinner table below… as well as the recipe.
Lentils with Roasted Beets
Adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 6, page 67
- 8 medium-sized beets
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons
- Salt, to season
- 3 cups lentils
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small handful of thyme branches
- 1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 3 large scallions, chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Part 1: Put on some rubber gloves and, with a vegetable peeler, peel the beets. I used red and orange beets that were about 3 inches around. Cut each beet into 4 even quarters. Wrap 4-6 pieces in large rectangles of aluminum foil, but sprinkle with a bit of salt and olive oil just before sealing them tightly. Roast them on a sheet pan in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the beet. Once cooled, chop each beet into tiny imperfect cubes. Set aside.
Part 2: While the beets roast, rinse 3 cups of lentils in cold water. Put the lentils in a large pot with 6 cups of water, the onion, garlic cloves and thyme branches. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer until all the water has been absorbed and the lentils are tender, about 1 hour. Add more water if you need to, I did. Use tongs to fish out the onion, garlic and thyme branches. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread the lentils into serving dish. Add the red beets and then orange beets. Garnish with the cilantro and scallions. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and the lemon juice. Serves 12.