Lentils are a great store cupboard ingredient to have all year round to use in salads, soups and as a garnish. Puy lentils, from Le Puy in France, are a type of green lentil and have a shorter cooking time than other green lentils. Their earthy flavour marries well with the sweetness of roasted artichokes. Microherbs are simply small herb shoots. They have an intense flavour and also add colour and texture to dishes, without having to use whole leaves.
1.5kg Jerusalem artichokes
¼ bunch thyme
50g non-dairy butter
250ml non-dairy milk
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
280g dried Puy lentils, or green lentils
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
¼ bunch thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
80g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ nutmeg, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
½ small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely crushed
1 cardamon pod, finely crushed
2 cloves, finely crushed
½ teaspoon agave syrup
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
50ml olive oil
½ teaspoon table salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
Put the artichokes in a roasting tray with the thyme and butter and season with salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes, moving the artichokes around every 10 minutes, until they are uniformly a deep golden colour and crispy.
Remove from the oven and blend half the artichokes with the milk to form a thick puree. Season to taste and set aside in a warm place.
Rinse the lentils well under cold water. Put in a pan with 1 litre of water, the bay leaves, garlic and thyme. Season well, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes for Puy lentils, or 30-40 minutes for green lentils, until cooked through. Drain, discarding the herbs and garlic, then mix through the oil, salt and pepper and parsley.
Put the prunes in a medium saucepan with the spices and cover with 100ml hot water. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, then lightly pulse in a blender, or use a stick blender, to create a chunky paste. Season well with salt.
Combine all ingredients in blender jug with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until a chunky paste is formed.
Share the puree between four bowls. Add the lentils and prunes, then top with artichokes, with some halved. Drizzle with the zhoug to finish.