This is a hearty vegetarian dinner that absolutely screams autumn. Beautiful smoky flavours come from the aubergine cooked directly over the flame and good, proper substance and heft is provided through the lentils.
Cook the aubergines over a naked flame. Stand right by the stove and keep them turning because big supermarket aubergines are difficult to get an even burn on. This can take between 5 - 10 minutes until the skin blisters and blackens leaving a soft, smoky flesh within. Then set aside to cool.
In a large pan, gently fry the onions and carrots with a little salt until caramelised. Around 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar and cook until the tomatoes are smooshing into the pan. I also add a pinch of sugar at this point. If you don’t want to, it’s cool, it’s not essential, I just find that tiny teenie little bit of sweetness really balances everything out for me.
Peel the aubergines and roughly chop the softened flesh.
Add the aubergine, lentils and around 100ml of water. Cook until thickened, five minutes or so.
Serve with buttery swede (boil swede until tender then blitz and swirl through some butter) as Rosie suggests, or I’ve served it with equally buttery polenta which is also divine.