I get lots of inquiries about how to use turmeric in cooking because of its cancer-fighting properties. Despite these, it should be used in moderation or you will end up with something that’s not so great to eat. This recipe for Roasted Carrot & Red Lentil Ragout uses turmeric and lentils the way Indian cooking does, but the flavors are more Mexican! The way the carrots and onions are cooked here adds a ton of flavor and sweetness. Eat it with Brown Rice for a meal with complete protein.
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Toss the carrots in ½ tablespoon of the olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of black pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Turn and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are soft and caramelized. When cool enough, cut into a ¼-inch dice.
3. While the carrots are cooking, put the lentils in a large pot with the turmeric, whole garlic cloves, lemon peel and bay leaf. Cover with the stock. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are very soft but are keeping their shape, and the liquid has thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and bay leaf and set aside.
4. While both the carrots and lentils are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. When it starts to ripple, add the cumin seeds. Cook until they give off their aroma, then add the onions. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until the onions start to soften. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and have begun to caramelized, about 25 minutes. They should look almost like a jam. Set aside. By now, the onions, carrots, and lentils should be ready. It’s time to assemble them.
5. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it starts to ripple, add the sliced garlic. When it starts to brown, add the carrots and heat through, stirring. Add ancho chili powder, chipotle, and cayenne, and cook for about 2 minutes, taking care not to let them burn. Add the onions, mix well and add the contents of the pan to the lentils. Stir to mix well. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Adjust for salt. Take off the heat, cover and let it sit for a few minutes. Serve as a soup or with brown rice.
Ann’s Tips and Tricks
The red lentils we’re using are actually a rosy brown. If you can’t find them, use the more commonly sold green lentils. They cook faster than red, so if you use them keep an eye on them as they cook. Although we want the lentils soft, they need to keep their shape.
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