Beet Braised Lentils
Yields: Serves 6
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, butter or ghee
- 1 cup diced red onion (½ a red onion)
- 1 cup diced carrot
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 cup peeled and diced beet (one large beet, plus 2 more for juicing-optional )
- 4 cloves garlic-rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups black caviar lentils , beluga lentils or Puy lentils (soaked overnight if possible)
- 4 cups vegetable stock ( or chicken stock)
- ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, more to taste
- 1 cup fresh beet juice (either purchase from a juice bar, or juice 2 extra-large beets) or sub more broth or stock
In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, beets and celery, and saute for 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
Turn heat to medium, add garlic and herbs and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add lentils, stock and salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with lid, and turn heat to low, maintaining a gentle simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are just tender.
Add the beet juice, taste for salt, add more if necessary, and continue simmering on low for 10-15 more minutes or until tender. If you feel there is too much liquid for your liking, keep the lid off, and increase the heat, letting it reduce. ( I like this braise slightly juicy, personally, so I just replace the lid.)
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and taste again, adjusting if necessary.
Serve with optional browned butter or goat cheese crumbles. If going vegan, a little drizzle of olive oil is nice.
Serve as vegan main dish or as a side dish to fish, chicken or meat.