It’s been almost a year since I started sharing food ideas and recipes in this column, and doing so continues to give me immeasurable joy. Vegetables remain the main focus; however, moving forward, meat and seafood will appear, more as a flavor enhancer than a main course. As my own personal meat consumption steadily goes down, what I miss is the flavor of meat more than the meat itself. So I’ve begun to incorporate small amounts of meat or meat stock while leaving vegetables at the center of the plate. Like these carrots roasted with sesame seeds — they are nice on their own but delicious with black beans cooked with a bit of lamb and spices.
makes ~4 -6servings | 1 hr.
For the carrots
5-6 large carrots (roughly 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Black Bean Lamb Masala
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup minced onions
4 ounces of ground lamb
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1½ teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon grated unpeeled ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Peel the carrots and cut them into halves lengthwise or leave them whole if the ends are thinner. Rub them with salt, black pepper and olive oil and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Take the foil off, check for doneness (carrots should be fork tender). Sprinkle them with sesame seeds all around and place the baking sheet back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Rest the carrots until ready to serve.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat up ghee (or olive oil) and when it is just shy of smoking, add the cumin seeds. They will pop and sizzle — almost immediately, add the minced onions. Cook the onions at medium heat or until they have softened, then add the lamb. Add the turmeric, coriander seeds and salt and cook on medium heat until the meat has cooked through.
Add the black beans, chili powder, yogurt and ginger, cover the saucepan and simmer at low heat for another 10-15 minutes. The lamb should be cooked through, and the sauce should be thick. Add the cardamom and let the masala rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Spoon the lamb masala over the sesame roasted carrots and garnish with mint leaves.
ideas / variations
To keep this vegetarian, replace the lamb with 2 cups of minced mushrooms.
Replace lamb with chicken, beef or turkey.
Instead of carrots, use parsnips, butternut squash or turnips.