This isn’t a quick dish like my normal Monday-Friday dishes. It takes a little time as I like to roast the butternut squash. Roasting intensifies the flavour and leaves a beautiful sweet syrup on the roasting tray which I put in my soup. I also add chilli and herbs when roasting it which on it’s own makes a lovely side dish. Any pumpkin/squash will do, I just happened to have a butternut squash. The smaller the better, the smaller ones have a better flavour, large pumpkins tend to have more water. We cooked a giant pumpkin some years ago and while it was great fun and a challenge to use all of it, it just didn’t have that lovely sweet flavour of the smaller ones. I would love another one though. A friends neighbour grows them on his allotment. It was so big it had to be delivered in an old cement bag, it wouldn’t fit in a normal refuse sack. And we only got a quarter of the pumpkin that time.
This is a very comforting and warming soup. I made it up using what I had to hand so think I’ll tweak it in future iterations. I think some lemongrass would work well for example…
800 ml chicken stock or vegetable stock
100g red split lentils
500 g squash/pumpkin
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Chunk ginger, about 2 inches long, grated or finely chopped
2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200ml coconut milk
4 shallots or one onion, finely chopped
Chop the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and chop into chunks. You can leave the skin on, it will come off really easily after it is roasted.
Spread on a roasting tray with olive oil, dried chilli flakes and 1 tbsp coriander. Roast at a high heat (200 degrees celcius or so) until tender.
While this is roasting, sauté the shallots/onion for5 minutes or so until soft but not brown. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the stock and lentils and cook for ten minutes.
Add the roasted pumpkin with its juices and the coconut milk. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the remaining coriander (keeping a little for a garnish), season with salt & pepper and puree until smooth. I added some chilli flakes at this point too as it wasn’t hot enough for me but that very much depends on the chillies you use and how hot you like it.
Serve. Coriander makes a nice garnish. You could also swirl some coconut milk in there.