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Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro Oil

February 3, 2009

Okay, back to soup.  I know you’ve seen a lot of soup on here recently, but I’m sure we’ll be back to our regular pasta programming very soon.  In the meantime, make this soup.  It has a smooth texture from the red lentils, which really break down, and silky chunks of butternut squash and a little chewiness from the rice- its a great play on textures.  Don’t skimp on the cilantro oil- it’s bright herby taste with a saltiness really make the dish.  This recipe comes from Gourmet and serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

1 T vegetable oil

1 T butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 1/2-2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

2 T ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, mined

1 T Madras curry powder

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 1/4 c red lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 quarts water

2 c steamed Basmati rice, for serving

Cilantro oil:

1/2 c cilantro leaves

3-4 T vegetable or canola oil

1/2 t salt

Directions:

Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until foam subsides.  Add onion, carrot, celery, squash, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown- about 20 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 25-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (time depends on the freshness of the lentils).  You want the soup to be the consistency of thin oatmeal.  If it’s too thin, cook soup uncovered until it reaches the desired consistency.  I also mashed up some of the squash with the back of my spoon for a thicker texture.

Meanwhile, place cilantro leaves, salt and oil in a food processeor or blender and process until smooth.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with a scoop of rice and drizzle with cilantro oil.

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