Friday, October 8, 2010

Roasted Squash Soup

Here's one of the reasons why I love fall so much: SOUPS!! I can eat soup for lunch AND diner no problem. I love the warmth of it, the versatility, and because it's hot you eat it slowly, which is good for the digestive system, so I've heard...
And I love fall for this star vegetable: SQUASH!! There are so many varieties, and yes you can do a lot more than soups with them, but they are the AMAZING for soups. They make everything turn into velvet. Also they can stay on the counter for a long time without going bad. This one here I've had for at least a month, chillin on my kitchen table, taunting me... So today on my day off, on a rather gray gloomy/rainy friday I thought it was time. Plus, I still had some home-made chicken broth I'd brought from work last week and it was now or never the time to use it.
Today because I had nothing else to do I decided to take the long route; I roasted the squash nicely with some spices and cooked the base really slowly...All together I think it took about 2 hours to make this soup. But when pressed for time it's possible to make it quicker, by skipping the roasting and just cubing the squash and cooking everything together. But I assure you, if you have time to do it like this, do it, it makes a big difference!

For the flavors I got the inspiration from Jamie Oliver, in his first ever cook book, "The Naked Chef". The fennel seeds is a great flavor for squash! I would've never thought of it myself, so Thanx Jamie!
I should also mention that adding lentils to a soup is a great way to get a dose of protein, and by no means does it change the taste of the soup, at all. So go for lentils they're sooooooo good for us!

Here are the ingredients list:

1 big butternut squash
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp corsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tsp brown sugar
Canola oil (1-2 TBSP???...)

1 big or 2 medium onions, chopped.
2 big celeri stalks, peeled and chopped.
1 big carrot, peeled and chopped.
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1-2 white potatoes, peeled and cut.
2/3 cup red lentils.
4-6 cups chicken broth.
1 bay leaf.

To roast the squash:

Cut the thing in half, clean out the seeds, and cut into reasonable sized pieces...the bigger they are the longer it will take to cook, but if they're too smalll it'll be a pain to peel. You be the judge...
Smash all the spices in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, brush the squash with oil and sprinkle the spices over it.
Bake in the oven at 400F until fork-tender, for about 40 minutes.

Let it cool before peeling.
Meanwhile, sautee the onion, celeri and carrots in some canola oil on medium heat until the onions are soft and transluscent.
Add the garlic and potatoes, season with salt and pepper and sautee for 1-2 minutes.
Add the lentils and the stock, throw in a bay leaf.
Bring to a light boil and simmer on low-medium for about 30 minutes, until everything is soft.
While this is simmering peel the squash and cut into chunks. Set aside until it's time to add to the rest of the soup.
(If you need more liquid add a little more broth, or water)
When the vegetables are cooked and the squash been added and warmed up and everybody seems to be well aquainted, TAKE OUT THE BAY LEAF and start the pureeing process! Either with a hand blender or a traditional blender, it's up to you, but make sure it's all smooth!
If it seems too thick add a bit of milk, check the seasonnings and adjust to your liking.

Don't forget the bread on the side for dunking!!

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