Gourmet (you know I love my cooking mags!) I decided on the Curried Squash and Red Lentil soup. It's something a little different, Eastern-inspired, with a nice kick from the curry and a subtle sweetness from the squash. I served it over rice, as recommended, and was pleased with the result! oh, and if you are wavering about making the cilantro oil, please disregard your inner dialogue. it is a perfect accompaniment to the soup, and a brightness of both color and flavor!
Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup
Gourmet, February 2009
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter (i actually omitted this, so my soup really was vegan!)
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced peeled ginger
1 tbsp curry powder ( i used Muchi, but any would work!)
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 qt water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
for cilantro oil:
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, then cook squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and 1 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in curry powder and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
Add lentils and water (bring to a boil) and simmer covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes (ed. note: my lentils took fully 40 minutes to cook. slow cooking lentils!). Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
While the lentils are cooking, make the cilantro oil by pureeing the cilantro and vegetable oil in a blender (I used a hand blender; you could also finely mince the cilantro and whisk together with oil. This is not an exact science!)
To serve, I scooped some rice into a soup bowl, ladled the soup over, and drizzled with cilantro oil. Yum!