This lentil dish is fragrantly spiced with a rich vegetable sauce, then the crisp apple chutney gives a tart and hot contrast to the softness of the lentils.
The lentils – Serves 4
250 grams Pardina or Puy lentils
vegetable stock – about 700 ml
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Florence fennel
1 large spring garlic
1 large spring onion
seeds of 10 green cardamoms
6 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Maggi wurze
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chard or spinach leaves
Finely chop the garlic and onion
Cut the celeriac, courgette and fennel into about 1 cm dice.
Warm the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic and onion for two to three minutes
Add the vegetables and fry stirring from time to time until lightly browned.
Add the lentils and all the seasonings and then enough stock to cover.
Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down and gently cook until the lentils are tender and the vegetables have made a thickish sauce. Check the liquid level from time to time and add more stock if the dish is getting dry.
Check the seasoning of the lentils and add salt and pepper as needed.
Just before serving stir in the spinach or chard cut into strips. Let cook a couple of minutes for the leaves to wilt and brighten. The lentils taste enven better if cooked the day before you want to serve, like all stews, but leave the addition of the leaves until the last moment again.
The fresh apple chutney
1 crisp slightly tart apple – cut into small dice
fresh green chilli – finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
juice from 1/2 lime
Mix all the ingredients together adding the chilli gradually. You want the chutney quite spicy but not blow your head off. Leave to marinate for half an hour or so before serving.