Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

My husband's love of butternut squash soup results in me making it quite regularly. It's really straightforward and easy to prepare, so I like to experiment with its usual ingredients to add depth of flavour.

I used some Indian spices and ginger to give it an extra kick and baked the squash first to allow its natural sugars to come through. The combination of the extra sweet squash when contrasted with the heat of ginger makes this traditional soup so much more delicious!

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into lengthwise pieces
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
2 tablespoons yellow lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken stock plus one extra in case it's too thick
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking tray with tinfoil. toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake until tender. You don't want to much colour as a charred squash will taste bitter when pureed. Once it's cooked just keep it on the side for later.

In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and add onions. Sweat on low until soft and transparent. Add the ginger and cook for a minute or so. Add the lentils and one cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer on low until most of the liquid has reduced. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add tumeric, coriander, cumin and a good pinch of salt.

Add the roasted butternut squash and and cook for another 15 minutes. Transfer the contents to a large bowl as you will return the pureed soup to the pot. Blend the contents in batches, returning each batch to the pot. Simmer on low heat until it's warmed through.

Taste it- is it salty, not salty enough, too thin too thick? If it's salty add a pinch of sugar or a touch of cream. If it's bland add a pinch of salt. If it's too thin add some cream or carry on simmering and it will thicken. If it's too thick add some stock.

I didn't add a touch of cream as the pureed lentils and squash really give a rich and creamy texture.
Once it's perfectly set to your liking serve with some fresh cracked black pepper!

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