Sunday, 6 July 2008

Fennel & Lentil Au Gratin

Serves 3-4

1 onion, peeled and chopped
40g butter
175g split red lentils
400ml water or unsalted stock
1 bayleaf
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
450g fennel
a few dried crumbs
a little grated cheese

Fry the onion in 25g of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan for 5 minutes, then add the washed lentils and the water or stock and bayleaf and simmer them gently for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and golden-beige. Then remove the bayleaf and liquidise the lentil mixture, adding the lemon juice and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5. Wash and trim the fennel, reserving some of the leafy green pieces. Cut the white part into chunky pieces and cook in a little boiling salted water until just tender; drain well. Use the remaining butter to grease generously a shallow ovenproof casserole dish. Put the cooked fennel in the base of the dish and pour the lentil mixture evenly over the top. Chop up about a tablespoonful of the reserved fennel leaves and scatter them over the lentil mixture, then sprinkle with dried crumbs and grated cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until crunchy and golden on top and hot and bubbling underneath.

I really like fennel, but it's something I struggle to be inventive with so it's nice to find some new recipes to use it in and this was lovely, especially with lentils which I really enjoy. Feels wholesome!


Anonymous said...

This recipe comes from a Bean or veggie cookbook published in the 70s. I am down in Wales for the summer but the old recipe book is in London. I bought fennel at Fishguard Farmers' Market and so googled for the recipe. It is excellent - healthy, easy, inexepensive and an excellent way of using fennel. The lemon is vital!

Anonymous said...

This recipe is from 'The Bean Book' by Rose Elliot, and she should be credited as it is still in print.