Earthy, meaty, olive-hued Puy lentils pair beautifully with the sweetness of carrots (plus, they add extra fiber). Fire up the broiler, blister a little onion and a pile of bright orange carrots, blend them into a chunky puree, then throw it all in a pot with your best lentils and let the stove take care of the rest. The result is a simple, satisfying dish bursting with autumnal shades. Come the cooler months, feel free to throw in a little dried thyme and sage, and if you like, try roasting a small, seeded jalapeno along with the carrots and onion for a little extra warming.
Serve these lentils with any grain, or as a stand-alone salad with any flatbread or a chunk of crusty white bread. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, use these lentils as a filling for hand pies, pot pies, phyllo cigars, or anything that pleases you and yours.
Puy Lentils Simmered in Carrot Sauce
serves about 6
1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and trimmed
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
4 cups water, divided
1 pound Puy lentils
1 lime, plus another, to serve, optional
hot sauce, to serve, optional
Heat oven broiler.
Meanwhile, halve carrots lengthwise and cut onion into slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet (carrots cut-side down) six inches from the heat source and broil until tender and beginning to blister in spots, about 20 minutes. Occasionally open the oven door to prevent the broiler from turning off.
Carefully add vegetables to a food processor with coriander, paprika, bouillon cube, and 1 cup of water. Blend into a chunky puree. Transfer to a pot, stir in three cups of water, and add lentils. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, covered, until lentils are tender and most of the water is absorbed, 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat as needed to keep liquid from evaporating too quickly. If needed, uncover and simmer for a few additional minutes if the mixture is too watery (note that it will thicken as it cools).
Remove from heat, squeeze in the juice from half the lime. Taste and adjust salt and lime. Serve immediately with hot sauce or with extra small lime wedges at the table, if desired.