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Soak the lentils in a bowl of cold water for 40 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the beetroot in a large, deep flameproof casserole dish with the oil, onion, carrots and thyme. Mix together and season.
Roast for 35 mins, mixing all the vegetables halfway through until starting to go crisp (they don’t need to be cooked all the way through at this point). Remove the dish from the oven and put on the hob over a medium heat. Turn the oven down to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Drain the lentils and add to the dish. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, and a good crack of black pepper. Bring to the boil, then take off the heat and cover with a lid.
Transfer to the oven and cook for 55 mins-1 hr until the lentils are cooked, the veg is soft with a little bite and the liquid has thickened and reduced. Serve in bowls with bread for dunking, if you like.