There is something so hearty about baked lentils in winter and I'm always a fan of meals that you just throw together and leave in the oven for a while!
1 onion, diced finely
1/2 fennel bulb, diced finely
500g button mushrooms, stems trimmed
1.5 cups puy lentils (also called bule lentils or French lentils by differernt companies)
5 cups of vegetable stock
500g sweet potato, peeled and diced
250g cauliflower (or however much you have in the fridge that you want to use up), chopped small (makes about 3 cups)
1 bay leaf
8 or so cherry tomatos
a small handful of pine nuts
1. Preheat your oven to about 180 (you know your oven better than I do... or do you?).
2. You can start this dish by putting your casserole/baking dish straight on the stove to make this a one pot dish. Heat some olive oil in your baking dish and saute the onion and fennel until soft.
3. Set aside 8-10 of the mushrooms and slice the rest in thick bits. Add the mushroom to the cooking pot and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils and the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Add the sweet potato and cauliflower and remove from the heat. Cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes, removing the lid for the last 10 minutes.
5. While it is baking you can wash and trim the mushies you set aside. Put them on a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil.
6. When your 30 minutes is up take the casserole dish out of the oven and put it aside to rest. Put the tray of mushrooms in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes throw in a the whole cherry tomatos and the pine nuts and cook for a further 2-3 minute - keep your eye on it so they don't burn.
To serve, place some lentils in a bowl and top with the baked vegies and pine nuts. Serves 4, or two with leftovers.