Sunday, December 28, 2008

Curried Squash & Red Lentil Soup with Mint

This is a vegan recipe, so it's good to serve to just about anyone. If you're a die-hard meat-eater, this would convert easily to a stew by adding some sausage to the mix. Even as is, it could be a meal in itself, since it's very hearty, but it's also a good first course.

I think this recipe received the most compliments at my Hanukkah dinner. Since it's a seasonally appropriate soup, it can keep you warm all winter long.

Curried Squash & Red Lentil Soup with Mint
2 Tbsps. safflower oil
3 leeks, chopped
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
2 quarts low-sodium veggie stock
2 Tbsps. curry powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. red lentils, rinsed and picked over
2-3 cups water
2 Tbsps. fresh mint, minced

Place the chopped leeks in a bowl of cold water and allow the grit to settle to the bottom. Using a slotted spoon, remove leeks from the water.

Heat oil over medium heat in a stock pot or dutch oven. Add the leeks, squash, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the veggie stock and curry powder and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Using an immersion blender (or a regular one), puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red lentils and 2 cups of water. Simmer an additional 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add more water to thin to your desired consistency.

Adjust seasonings, as needed, and add mint. Remove from heat, and serve. This soup keeps very well in the refrigerator or freezer.

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