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Parsnip and Lentil Pots

Like all vegetables, parsnips should be used as fresh as possible. If you do need to keep them for a day or two, buy them unwashed and store in a cool, dry place. Always buy firm parsnips that have a good creamy colour, with no brown patches.

ingredients

serves 4
900 g (2 lb) parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
75 g (3 oz) green lentils
75 g (3 oz) long-grain brown rice
salt and pepper
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
1 small onion, skinned and finely chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) plain flour
568 ml (1 pint) fresh milk
pinch of grated nutmeg

method

1. Place the parsnips in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then drain immediately.

2. Put the lentils and rice together in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until just cooked. Drain well and season to taste.

3. Melt 25 g (1 oz) of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir in the flour and cook for a further 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Slowly bring to the boil and continue to cook, stirring all the time, until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens. Simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper.

4. Lightly grease four 450 ml (3/4 pint) deep ovenproof dishes or one 1.7 litre (3 pint) dish. Reserve some parsnip slices for garnish. Spoon alternate layers of parsnip, lentils and brown rice and onion sauce into each dish. Finish with a layer of onion sauce and the reserved parsnip slices. Melt the remaining butter and brush over the tops.

5. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 190°C (375°F) mark 5 for about 1 - 1 1/4 hours, until golden brown. Serve hot.

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