This soup introduced me to two things: Red Lentils & Cilantro Oil. I learned that red lentils are super deceptive. They don't really stay Red or keep their lentil shape when cooked. However, they do thicken up a soup and add extra fiber & texture. I like that. Cilantro Oil? It's my new favorite thing! It's a crucial component to this dish and it is INSANELY good when paired with my Killer Garlic Bread. Casey and I tested out a shameful amount of pieces with it! How could the garlic bread be anymore enticing??!! Cilantro oil! The best part is that it's easy to make and such a fancy little accompaniment. The soup instantly elevates to fancy status because of that special green oil. Who knew?
OK back to the soup. I'm usually skeptical of soups that have water as the base instead of chicken or vegetable stock. This soup shocked me. There was simply no need for stock because the curry and ginger packed the flavor punch it needed. The squeeze of lemon at the very end adds the slightest tang and beautifully balances the sweetness of the butternut squash. And let's talk about the butternut squash for a second. It's creamy! The way it squishes between your tongue and the roof of your mouth? Lovely! I spent a good 15 minutes sampling that feeling with each cube. Please try it and tell me I'm not weird. Ok umm I'm feeling self conscious now. Go make this soup!
And we're off!
Peel the butternut squash.
Grate the ginger.
Chop up your vegetables, onions and garlic. Take a deep breath. This is gonna be super easy! Don't worry!
Put all your chopped goods in a pot with your melted butter & oil and start to brown. Takes 15 mins.
Add in the curry. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add in the red lentils & water.
Now simmer with the lid on until it thickens and the lentils are tender.
Make your cilantro oil. Blend oil with cilantro & salt. How easy is that?
Such a nice green....
Now that your soup has thickened, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Salt & pepper to taste.
Serve it up in a big bowl, and drizzle the top with cilantro oil.
The leftovers are AMAZING over basmati rice. You'll see!
Curried Squash & Red Lentil Soup
(recipe slightly adapted from Gourmet Quick Kitchen Magazine)
For the Soup:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the Cilantro Oil:
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Melt the butter or margarine with olive oil in a 5 quart pot over medium high heat until the foam subsides. Add the squash, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and grated ginger to the pot with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher and cook until browned-about 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder & black pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and water and simmer, covered for 25 to 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.
To make cilantro oil:
In a blender or food processor blend the chopped cilantro and oil with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Tada! You've got cilantro oil.
Serve soup with drizzles of cilantro oil on top. Basmati rice is a recommended accompaniment.