Friday, January 14, 2011

My house smells vaguely of curry

Last night for dinner I made Curried Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup from the fabulous food blog: Eat Live Run.  It claimed to serve 4.  Instead it made 4 gallons.

Well, I may be exaggerating....but still.  It was quite a bit of soup and a good portion of it is now in our freezer awaiting further rainy days.  But it is so pretty and delicious that I will definitely make it again- just a quarter of it...

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 (3lb) butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbl minced ginger (I found a squeeze tube of this in the produce section and now I need to find many more uses for it- I had forgotten how amazing ginger smells!!)
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red lentils (fun fact: when you get them wet, say to rinse them, they turn into cement which is very difficult to dump from one container into the next)
  • 1 qt chicken or veggie broth
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
The best part?  You don't have to worry about how even and bite sized your cuts are.  You blend it all together at the end so prettiness in prep doesn't count- it ends up pretty in spite of your inability to cut things nicely!

And now for some pictures of the process:
Some of my ingredients- check out the tube o ginger!
First step: saute the onions in a bit of olive oil until nice and soft

Nice aromatics: ginger and garlic

Dump the garlic and ginger in and saute for a few more minutes- remember that garlic burns a lot faster than onions!

Add the butternut squash and mix it up, then add everything else in with wild abandon! Please note that the lentils are not falling happily into the pot.  No, we had to add some water to the bowl and work loose the now hard-as-rock lentils.  They came apart as they cooked thankfully!
Oooh yeah.  So full of goodness.  Bring this mixture to a boil.

Then reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer away for 20 minutes until the squash and lentils are nice and soft.  I was dubious that it would only take 20 minutes.  And I was pleasantly surprised when my spoon hit a squash chunk and it melted in half.  Perfect!

This is tricky.  Transfer the soup to a blender.  Now: blend it up.  The exciting part of blending hot soup is that if you fail to remove the middle part of the cap to let steam escape, the entire lid will try and explode off of the blender.  We kept the clear thing partially on and covered it with a dish towel.  The spatter is because it is too full- and this was only half of the soup!

All smooth and delicious now!

Second half of the soup ready to be blended.

Look at that technique!  Look at that concentration!

We transfered it all back to the Dutch oven because it is prettier there.

All gone!  The sandwich too!
We made some sandwiches (turkey and cheddar with homemade bread!) and they were very filling so we couldn't eat very much soup in the end- a real bummer considering how much is leftover AND how tasty this was.  I love the kick the cayenne gives this soup and I love the surprising complexity of flavors.  It starts out very squashy and then all the other elements start coming through.  Delicious!  I have trouble eating soup without chunks so bread or crunched up pita chips are a must for me.  This might be very very good with chunks of sausage and maybe some noodles or rice for something to chew on.  

All in all, a great weeknight dinner.  Especially a weeknight that is cold and rainy and crappy.  This is an excellent comfort food!

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