Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Roasted celeriac with lentils and feta

I feel sorry for the celeriac. He's not the most handsome of veggies is he? A bit bumpy and nobbly and hairy and brown- with an "interesting" flavour. It definitely wasn't love at first sight when I saw him in our veg bag, but, as we all very well know, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, so I decided to give this guy a chance.

In true Carrie Bradshaw/Sex and the City style, this introduction got me thinking.....I was going to make a bit of a political standpoint on how we are overly obsessed with appearance and that there is currently too much pressure on women to look a certain way. But then I realised this is a food blog, not a feminist/activist/political blog so I stopped myself. It is something that I do feel very strongly about though, and a few recent news stories have made me a bit cross/saddened by the the whole state of play for women at the moment. So to save you all from reading my rantings and soapbox moment all I will say is this-couldn't we all learn a lesson from the celeriac? It's a delicious and unusual and unique and wonderful vegetable, so it doesn't really matter what it looks like does it?! Feminist issues and vegetables-really not too different after all!

If you are in any way interested in what I've been rambling about, you should take a look at this blog:
Watch this video:
Read this article:
And this book:

And now, back to the matter at hand; the food.

I have to admit I did struggle initially to think of what to do with Mr Celeriac. Soup? Of course, soup would be great (and I did actually turn some of it into soup!) but soup is fairly predictable and I wanted to try something new. So it got roasted and served with some super savoury and hearty puy lentils with spinach and a crumbling of feta. The celeriac has a slight bitterness to it that is lessened by slow roasting until it starts to get those sweet crispy bits on the edges. The feta brings that saltyness that cuts right through it and the lentils provide a yummy kind of earthy flavour to even it all out. My boyfriend said this was one of the best things I'd made so it must be good!

It could definitely be made more substantial by serving with some rice/quinoa/farro, but it actually makes a very satisfying meal just like this, and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day! You might also want to mix it up with different roast veg like carrots, parsnips or potatoes....the more the merrier!

Roasted celeriac with lentils and feta
(Serves 4)

1 whole celeriac, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
1 red onion, cut into large chunks/segments
2 cloves garlic
glug of olive oil
2 x 400g tinned puy lentils (I used pre cooked tinned lentils because I'm lazy, but feel free to buy dried and cook them according to instructions)
large bunch of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
large handful of parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
200g feta

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the celeriac, red onion and whole garlic cloves in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 30-40 minutes until soft and starting to crisp at the edges.

In a frying pan or shallow saucepan, wilt the spinach in a little water. Add the lentils and heat through. Mix through the parsley and lemon juice, and season to taste.

To serve, pile the lentil and spinach mixture onto a plate, top with celeriac and onion, and finish with crumbled feta and a sprinkling of extra parsley.

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