A word from Ozlem
“We love beetroots( pancar), celeriac (kereviz), and carrots (havuc) in Turkish cuisine. Root vegetables, and vegetables in general feature a lot in healthy, delicious Turkish cooking, based on seasonal produce. With my roots going back to southern Turkey, Antakya, our natural condiment pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, is used widely in our meals too. This delicious, tangy sauce is much loved in our kitchen, very healthy too. You can make your own pomegranate molasses with my recipe (below) if you’d like.
I recently baked beetroots, celeriac and carrots with red onions, and then mixed with cooked green lentils, served with a simple sauce of pomegranate molasses, olive oil and lemon juice. It turned out to be a light, healthy vegetarian course, packed with flavor. It works great with grills, pasta or as a delicious vegetarian meal on its own. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days too.
I hope you enjoy making this delicious plant based dish, celebrating seasonal root vegetables and wholesome green lentils.”
How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Molasses – Nar Eksisi
- 1058 ml /4 ½ cups / 2 ¼ lb. freshly squeezed pomegranates juice (out of 8 large pomegranates)
- 26 gr / 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Take out all the pomegranate seeds and save in a bowl.
- Place a large bowl and a sieve under the sink.
- Squeeze the pomegranate seeds with your hands through a sieve over the large bowl. Try to extract as much of the juice as you can. Discard the left over seeds.
- Pour in the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the sugar.
- Bring the pan to a boil over medium to high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the lemon juice, mix and reduce the heat to medium to low, just enough for simmering.
- Simmer for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes; the juice will get thicken and reduce to ¾ cups.
- Turn the heat off and let the pomegranate molasses cool. It will thicken more as it cools down.
- Once cool, pour into a glass jar with an airtight lid on.
- Store in the fridge up to 2 months.
- Makes ¾ cup / 177 ml/ 6 fl oz. pomegranate molasses
Baked beetroots, celeriac, carrots and green lentils with pomegranate molasses
- 690g/1lb 8oz -6 medium raw beetroots, peeled, cut into small chunks
- 630g/1lb 6oz -1 medium celeriac, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 600g/1lb 5oz baby carrots, washed, topped and halved lengthways (or large carrots, cut in small chunks)
- 1 large red onion, peeled, cut into small wedges
- 140g/5oz green lentils, rinsed
- 60ml/4tbsp olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the pomegranate molasses sauce:
- 30ml/2tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 15ml/1tbsp water
- 60ml/6tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ juice of lemon
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped – to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
- Put the prepared vegetables on a large baking tray. Drizzle with 4 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
- While the vegetables are baking, cook the green lentils. Place the rinsed green lentils on a medium pan. Pour in hot water and boil for 25 minutes over medium heat. Stir once in a while so the lentils won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked, drain and rinse over cold water over colander/sieve. Set the cooked green lentils aside in a bowl.
- After 35 minutes of roasting, check the vegetables and gently mix. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15 minutes, until tender and starting to colour at the edges.
- Once baked, combine the cooked green lentils with the baked vegetables.
- For the pomegranate molasses sauce; mix the pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, with water, lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the baked vegetables and green lentils and combine gently.
- Place the baked vegetables and lentils on a serving plate. Scatter over the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
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Published with kind permission from Özlem Warren