Thursday, October 24, 2013

Curried Red Lentil and Winter Squash Soup

This is my adaptation of a recipe from Epicurious.  The original recipe cubed butternut squash and cooked it with the other vegetables in a soup pot.  But because Tom had cooked one of his monster pink banana squash  (see photo below) and I had that in the refrigerator, I used that instead.  And of course, I used coconut oil rather than the combination of vegetable oil and butter that the original recipe used.  The mix of earthy red lentils and squash with curry was superb!  Madras curry is simply one type of ground curry that is a bit more intense than the typical curry powder.  I often have it in my spice cupboard, but didn't have it when I made this soup, so I am eager to try this again using Madras curry.  

The original recipe also made a cilantro oil to put on the soup, but it used vegetable oil and cilantro and I knew that would never work for me.  So I played around with the idea, and made an incredibly tasty sauce using goat yogurt and cilantro.   I used about 4 teaspoons yogurt with about about 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, and put it in the Magic Bullet.  The flavor was a great accompaniment to the soup.  Of course, any type of plain yogurt would work.  I am realizing for me, however, goat products are much more easily digested than cow products.  

I am definitely a better cook than photographer.  I think I took about 50 photos and none did this soup justice. Just believe me when I say it is tastier than it looks.  

The abundance of winter squash is Pzazz this year!  Tom planted several varieties of winter squash, and all performed heartily.   The great thing about winter squash is that they are nearly indestructible.  If kept in a cool place, they will keep for months before needing to be used. Or I often bake them in the oven, and then freeze the flesh, or make it immediately into soup, which can also be frozen.  For those days and weeks when I have minimal energy, there is nothing better than being able to take out soup from the freezer and simply warm it up.  

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 1/2 cups cooked winter squash (any variety)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons minced peeled ginger
1 Tablespoon curry (preferably Madras)
8 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in deep soup pot.  Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic,and ginger with the salt.  Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked winter squash, freshly ground pepper and curry powder and simmer about 10 more minutes.  Let cool. Add the water, and puree with an immersion blender in the pot, being careful for hot splatters.  Add the lentils to the pot, and simmer, covered, for about 30- 40 minutes until the lentils are soft.  Ladle into bowls with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. A garnish of crumbled feta cheese or crumbled goat cheese is also tasty with it.

Nutrition per serving:
Servings per recipe: 10                        
Serving size:  1 cup
Calories:  118

Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol:0   mg
Sodium: 226 mg
Total Carbs: 20 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 6 g