Comfort and a butternut squash.

I’d planned to be right back to tell you about my cilantro-laced dinner.  You still have some oil, don’t you?  Good; now get yourself a butternut squash.

Some of you may have noticed this soup in last month’s Gourmet.  February was The Comfort Food Issue and, of course, I am going to make everything in it.  Because who doesn’t need comfort in the middle of February, whether it comes from your valentine, or your soup spoon, or (preferably) both?

The soup was a curried butternut squash and red lentil soup and it wasn’t supposed to be pureed, but I left it on the stove just a wee too long and the lentils were too soft.  I was happy for this mistake in the end, though, because after a few post-mistake tweaks the soup really shone.  A pinch of saffron, a dash of smoked paprika, and a little extra salt—what couldn’t be better for it?

The end result was a smooth yet full-bodied soup; you could taste the lentils and their earthy note while the complex sweetness of the squash and all the curried spices lingered.  The cilantro oil added an extra green pop—taste-wise and aesthetically. The look of this soup—bright warm yellow and stark green swirls—is enough to make it tasty.  But thankfully, the flavors don’t disappoint.

Curried-Squash and Red-Lentil Soup

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 quarts water
  • pinch of saffron
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • black pepper

Heat oil with butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.

Add lentils and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender.  Add saffron, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve drizzled with cilantro oil.

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19 thoughts on “Comfort and a butternut squash.

  1. Squash and lentils are a favorite combination in soup for me. A good earthy green like spinach or kale, or even bok choy add a nice touch. Your soup looks so warm and soothing!

    • Kate: I love a good kale and squash stir fry. Something about the sweet and the bitter…

      Radish: Thanks; I’ve drooled over many a cilantro-recipe of yours. What was the soup?

      My First Kitchen: Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

  2. i’m obsessing with cilantro oil… and i had soup that used it as a drizzle (on friday) and i’m officially hooked. not like i needed confirmation as i’ll pretty much eat anything with cilantro on it.

  3. Sounds wonderful. I’m becoming addicted to butternut squash but mostly because I’m making butternut squash fries 5 times a week. Lentils are on my list of new ingredients to cook with this year so I’ll give this a go.

  4. Butternut squash seems to be the best base for soups ever in my mind and I really like the set of flavors you highlighted here. Also, I love the photo of the soup bowl and the oil garnish–very nicely presented!

  5. Yes yes. Butternut squash and lentils!!! I did see this recipe but I like your adaptation much better.

    So is that one and one half pound squash or one half pound squash?

  6. Vicki says:

    Love your web site! Saw this recipe and had to try it since I had all the ingredients on hand already (except the cilantro oil, oh well!). I substituted the butternut for a kuri; seems to have worked just fine. The safron and paprika feels like gilding the lily; but I’ll do it gladly! It is making my whole house smell terrific. Can’t wait for Husband to get home so we can eat. Thank you for such a beautiful recipe.

  7. Attractive element of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to say that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your augment or even I achievement you get entry to persistently quickly.

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