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Coconut Lentils with Curried Root Vegetables and Green Harissa

Ingredients
Serves:
Curried Root Vegetables
1 cup
peeled and quartered baby turnips
1 cup
peeled and quartered baby carrots
1 cup
colored or regular small cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon
whole cumin seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mill
1 tablespoon
whole coriander seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mill
1 tablespoon
sweet paprika
1 tablespoon
Madras curry powder
2 tablespoon s
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon
red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Coconut Lentils
1 tablespoon
canola oil
1
fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered
1
large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2
carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks about the size of the fennel and onion pieces
1
jalapeño chile, halved, deveined, and seeded
3
lime leaves, or 3 long, thin strips lime zest
1
lemongrass stalk, outer layer peeled off, heart smashed a couple times with the back of a heavy knife
salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 can s
beluga or puy lentils, carefully sorted to remove any stones or other debris, rinsed
1 tablespoon
whole cumin seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mill
1
whole coriander seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mill
1 tablespoon
whole husked green cardamom seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mi
4 cup s
canned vegetable broth or water
1 cup
canned coconut milk
Green Harissa
2
jalapeño chiles, halved, stemmed, deveined, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup
packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup
packed Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves
1/4 cup
packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup
canola oil
1 teaspoon
minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon
minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon
whole cumin seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, cooled, and ground in a spice mill
Fresh lime juice or lemon juice
1 teaspoon
salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the Curried Root Vegetables, while the lentils are cooling, preheat the oven to 450°F. Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss by hand until the vegetables are evenly coated with the spices. Spread the mixture in a single layer in a baking pan. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender-crisp, nicely browned, and slightly charred along the edges, 30 to 45 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, make the Coconut Lentils. Heat a 3-quart saucepan over high. Add the canola oil, fennel, onion, carrots, jalapeño, lime leaves, and lemongrass; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have browned slightly, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the lentils and half each of the cumin, coriander, and cardamom and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but still slightly firm and not mushy, about 20 minutes. 
  4. Strain the lentils, transfer them to a mixing bowl, and set aside to cool. Remove and discard the fennel, onion, carrots, jalapeño, lime leaves, and lemongrass. 
  5. About 30 minutes before serving time, put the coconut milk in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the lentils. Little by little, stir in some or all of the remaining cumin, coriander, and cardamom to taste. Return to a simmer, season to taste with salt and pepper, add a little more of the remaining stock or water, and cook until the lentils are very tender, about 5 minutes longer, adjusting the amount of liquid to give the mixture the creamy consistency of risotto. 
  6. Before serving, make the Green Harissa. Put the chiles, cilantro, parsley, mint, olive oil, canola oil, ginger, garlic, and cumin in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive bowl and season to taste with lime or lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 
  7. To serve, spoon the lentils in large, shallow individual serving bowls. Arrange the roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle with the harissa. Serve immediately.
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About this Recipe

Each of the three elements in this recipe—the creamy lentils, the oven-caramelized vegetables, and the spicy North African-style sauce—is worth making on its own. Brought together as they are here, they create a wonderfully complex and satisfying vegetarian main course that will make even devoted carnivores happy. Toasting the whole spices before grinding them helps give the finished dish a much more aromatic flavor than you would get from pre-ground spices, although you will certainly get delicious results if you use those instead.

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