Celeriac and lentil gratin

By Jenny Chandler


Celeriac and lentil gratin
Serves 4-6

"I’ve been cooking this recipe for years, but I can’t remember where it came from, so thank you to whoever dreamt it up, it’s inspired. The nutty celeriac has a wonderful texture and the creamy tomato sauce lends the lentils a touch of luxury. Serve with a big green salad and some really good bread."

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
300g Castelluccio lentils, rinsed
salt and pepper
large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
225ml double (heavy) cream
1 celeriac, about 1kg, peeled, quartered and finely sliced
zest and juice of ½ lemon
100g Parmesan cheese, grated


- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion gently until soft and beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and stir until its wonderful smell wafts up from the pan. Tip in the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.

- Meanwhile, put the lentils in a pan, cover with about 5 cm/2 in of water and simmer for about 20 minutes, until just soft and creamy rather than al dente. Drain if necessary, and then season well with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and 3 tablespoons of the cream.

- Add the celeriac to the tomato sauce, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. At first, there will not appear to be enough tomato sauce, but the celeriac will release plenty of moisture as it cooks. When the celeriac is tender, add the remaining cream, the lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste.

- Layer the celeriac and tomato mixture alternately with the lentils in a large, shallow ovenproof dish, finishing with a layer of celeriac. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and bake for about 30 minutes, until nicely browned on the top.

- This can be prepared ahead and even frozen. Thaw before baking for an extra 10–15 minutes, covering with foil if the top begins to get too dark. (Try using any whole brown or green lentil for the dish. Not red lentils though, as they will collapse into a mush.)


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