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Sweet onions with lentil stew

Sweet onions with lentil 01078 16x9 - resized for web

Did you know that the humble onion is great for boosting your immunity thanks to its phytochemicals which improve the working of vitamin C in your body?  It is also a source of chromium which helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and is particularly rich in sulphur compounds and antioxidant flavonoids too which help protect against cell damage.  Lentils are packed full of nutrients like fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and contain almost no fat.  It is thought that they can reduce your risk of heart disease as they are a very good source of folate and magnesium. 


Good handful of chopped unsmoked bacon or pancetta (optional)
4 roughly chopped medium sized onions
3 small carrots cut into chunks
½ tsp mild paprika
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ nutmeg, for grating
300g/10oz Puy lentils
500ml/1pint stock
a handful parsley
knob of butter
100g/4oz crème fraîche


Cook the bacon or pancetta in a deep pan over a moderate heat, allowing the fat to ooze out.  Add two of the onions to the pan and then the carrots.  Cover and let it steam for a few minutes.  Add the paprika, cinnamon and then grate in ½ of the nutmeg.  Add the lentils, stock and 500ml water, cover and cook slowly for 30 minutes until the lentils have softened. Meanwhile take another pan and cook the remaining two onions in butter until caramelised.  Grate over the remaining nutmeg. Add a handful of chopped parsley to the ingredients in the deep pan.  Pile the caramelised onions on top and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Recipe courtesy of Nigel Slater/BBC Food


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