Around Thanksgiving, the press loves to ask, “What do you people do?” Well, in our house, we don’t do just sides—we always pick a grand centerpiece. Be it portobellos, giant squash, tender eggplants, or whole roasted jumbo carrots, I love putting giant chunks of vegetables center plate. When perfectly cooked, the knife-and-fork eating experience of these carrots is unmatched. Their creamy, rich texture is a perfect contrast to the toothsome lentils. And the green harissa, our take on the classic Tunisian hot sauce, adds a tangy high note that contrasts the sweetness and earthiness. Buy jumbo carrots loose or, if buying bagged carrots, reduce the cooking time by half. If the carrots come with greens, cut them off but leave about one inch of the stem.
2 Pounds Jumbo Carrots, washed well
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Island Spice Blend
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½ Cup Minced Onions
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Cups Dried Black or Green Lentils, picked through and rinsed
2 Teaspoons Island Spice Blend
2 Cups loosely packed fresh Cilantro Leaves
1 Cup Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Jalapeno Peppers, Stems and Seeds removed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Suger
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the carrots on a sheet pan with the olive oil and Island Spice Blend. Roast until they just start to become tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, to make the lentils, heat the oil in a medium stockpot over high heat until it ripples. Add the minced onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the stock, lentils, and Island Spice Blend and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all of the Harissa ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. To serve, spoon the lentils onto a serving dish, place the roasted carrots on top of the lentils, and cover the carrots with the Harissa.
Credit line: Recipe from Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking, copyright © Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, 2013. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com