Cooking · Dinner

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

So…. this polar vortex is heading right towards me (and everyone else on the Northeast seaboard) and if you have not already been affected by this cold – chances are you are already right in the thick of it.

Today was my first day back to work, and after a productive day back I had one idea in my head as I was driving home from work. Soup. Lentil soup. I knew I wanted to put a new twist on the traditional lentil soup that I have made before. I thought back to Ina’s minestrone soup and the secret ingredient – butternut squash. So I decided to add some butternut squash to the mix.

Here are the players in tonight’s soup:

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I put in about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil into my chili pot. While the oil was warming up, I chopped up a big onion. Once the oil was hot, I started sautéing the onion. As it was cooking, I chopped up one carrot, one celery stalk, some garlic (four cloves) and peeled my butternut squash seeded it and diced it into about 1/2 inch pieces. I put the butternut squash, celery and carrots in next and let the vegetables cook in the bot. I also added a pinch of kosher salt. After the vegetables had cooked a bit, I added the garlic and ginger that I had peeled and minced (about two tablespoons of ginger). Everything smelled amazing as it was cooking.

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While the vegetables cooked in the pot, I picked over a cup of dry lentils and washed them in my mesh strainer. I added a quart of chicken stock to the vegetables, and then added the lentils. The stock came to a boil, and then I added a can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (a 15 ounce can instead of the larger can I was planning on using). I added some freshly ground black pepper, and let everything come up to a boil. Once it was boiling, I turned down the heat, put the lid on top and let everything cook for about 15 minutes. I stirred everything occasionally. I tasted the mixture after 15 minutes had passed to be sure that the lentils were tender.

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Once they were, I got out my Vitamix. I carefully scooped a couple of cups of the mixture into the Vitamix (leaving as much broth in the pot as possible – just concentrating on getting the vegetables and lentils into the blender). I filled the blender a little less than half full, and put a clean dish cloth over it in case any steam escaped as I was puréeing the mixture.

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I puréed in batches and eventually I transferred everything back into the chili pot and brought the mixture up to temperature again.

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In the meantime I chopped up some cilantro and grabbed a couple of croutons to garnish by bowl. The final product made me SO happy. The soup took a little while to make, but the end product was totally worth it.

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This soup is going to be fantastic during the Polar Vortex. Stay warm everyone!!

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