For 6 as a starter
Coarse sea salt
1 tbsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp star anise
8 small to medium-sized beetroot
3 tbsp olive oil
200g Puy Lentils
About 200ml white wine
2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
small bunch of mint, finely chopped
15-20 mint leaves, left whole
salt and black pepper
200g goats' cheese, soft curd or cream cheese
For the dressing:
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
Preheat a medium (180C/gas 4) oven. Scatter the salt and spices over the base of a baking tray and lay the beetroot whole on top, then drizzle over a tablespoon of the olive oil.
Cook in the preheated oven for just under an hour, until the beetroot are completely soft to the top of a sharp knife. Take them out of the oven and let them cool enough for you to peel. Peel and cut into small chunks. Cover to keep warm.
While the beetroot are roasting and cooling, cook the lentils in equal parts white wine and water, with the garlic and the remaining olive oil. Cover the lentils with about an inch of liquid in a pan and then add more if they need it. Once the lentils are soft but not mushy - this usually takes about 20 minutes - take them off the heat and drain off any excess liquid. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, add the tomatoes (if using), parsley and chopped mint, and season.
Lay out some lentils on each plate. Add a few whole mint leaves, then crumble the goats cheese (or curd or cream cheese) over the top. Finish with the warm, fragrant beetroot cubes.
Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together, drizzle it over the salad and eat while still warm.
I was really pleased with how well this came out, the smell that comes from the roasting beetroot is just delicious. It ought to be the new Yankee Candle range.
I discovered when I went to the cupboard that all I had in was red wine, so opted to cook the lentils in just water and they were absolutely fine that way.
The dressing was so quick and simple too, I can't believe I was always buying bottled dressings when this is so simple and refreshing.
These forays into discovering cooking have been a delight!
Oh, on a final note, I did this as a main, served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes and a green salad. Lovely!
Taken from: Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook