I served this soup yesterday to some house guests who came over for dinner and got such great reviews that I thought sharing it with you. We were eight at the table yesterday night, meaning that I made a huge pot of soup and will be enjoying the leftovers today as part of my Christmas dinner. Red lentils and butternut squash really are a great combo, and the natural sweetness of the latter (enhanced by roasting) is complemented by the addition of cinnamon. To give things a little punch, dried chiles are added to the soup, and the final result – yet very delicate – has some background heat, almost like the role played of back vocals in melodies. A couple more technical notes on the soup: it lasts for a couple of days in the refrigerator (three to four), but as it has the tendency to thicken over the time, add a little water when reheating it. Also, if you don’t have the chiles at hand, you can add some cayenne pepper instead (1/4 teaspoon should be enough).
And finally last, but not the least: there are a couple of traditional portuguese recipes (both sweet and savory ones) typical for this of the year that I’d like to post up here. I still do have to work on them, as they’re not vegan, but once I get them right, they’re all yours too. Mery Christmas to all of you. Love, J.
1,3 kg butternut squash, seeded and cubed, but not peeled
Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup with Cinnamon
- 1,3 kg butternut squash, seeded and cubed, but not peeled
- 1 and ½ cups (270 grams) red lentils
- 8 cups (2 liters) light vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 small dried red chiles, stemmed and finely cut
- salt to taste
- 2 large white onions, finely chopped
- olive oil
- a handful chopped coriander, for serving
- 8 tablespoons pine nuts
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat it with olive oil. Add the cubed butternut squash, sprinkle with a little salt, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature.
- In the meantime, heat a large pot over medium-heat, add a few glugs of olive oil, the chopped onion, dried chiles and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
- Add the lentils and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil and, once boiling, reduce the heat to a low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Once the lentils are cooked, add the roasted butternut to the pot, and season with salt.
- With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- Toast the pine nuts in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes to get them slightly brown. At the last minute of toasting, stir in 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, mixing well until the pine nuts are well coated.
- To serve, transfer the soup to deep plates and add the chopped coriander and one tablespoon per person of the toasted pine nuts.