Warming, comforting, creamy, carrots with ricotta and spices

This is a warming, comforting, creamy way to cook carrots with ricotta.

The slight bitterness of the nigella seeds in the Panch Phoran makes a good counterpoint to the sweetness of the carrots and the caramelised onions, but if it isn’t for you, substitute with sesame seeds (black ones for extra visual impact), adding them at the end of the cooking process. Or simply make up your own mix – cumin, coriander and fennel would be a softer, milder alternative.

These go well with gammon or plain grilled chicken, or cod. Or with sausages.

Recipe for warming, comforting, creamy, carrots with ricotta and spices

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 kg carrots – ideally bunched or heirloom
  • 2 red onions
  • 5 tsp Panch Phoran – a seed mix made by combining equal parts of nigella seeds with fennel, brown mustard and cumin seeds, and a half part of fenugreek seeds – but you can make up your own mix.
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • juice and zest of a lime
  • small bunch coriander
  • 250g/9 oz ricotta
  • freshly ground black pepper – or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC. Take the ricotta out of the fridge.
  2. If the carrots are thin, just wash and trim them. If they are fat, scrape down with a potato peeler and then cut in half (or, if very fat, quarters) vertically. If they are incredibly long, cut them in half horizontally.
  3. Put them into a roasting tin with room to stir and turn every now and then.
  4. Peel the onions and each into six crescent-shaped wedges. Add to the tin. Pour over a good glug of olive oil and stir to coat.
  5. Put your seed mix and the salt into a pestle and mortar and grind roughly. Add the lime zest. Use half this spicy salt to sprinkle over the vegetables. Stir to coat again.
  6. Put in the oven to roast – after 10 minutes, take them out and stir. After 20 minutes take them out again. If they are cooked through and just getting a little charred they are ready. If they aren’t, stir again and put back into the oven for another ten minutes or so.
  7. Take out of the oven, squeeze over the lemon juice, and if it looks a bit dry another glug or so of olive oil. Sprinkle over the remaining salt, some pepper, and snip over the coriander leaves. Dot with the ricotta and serve.
Panch-Phoron
Panch Phoran – a seed mix made by combining equal parts of nigella seeds with fennel, brown mustard and cumin seeds, and a half part of fenugreek seeds
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