We usually observe the Italian tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Day. Because of their resemblance to coins, lentils are thought to symbolise good fortune and prosperity. Worth a shot…;-)
Most often, I make Puy lentils simmered with carrots, onion and celery until soft, which I serve with sausages cooked under the grill. But sometimes I make lentil soup.
This lentil squash soup with turmeric is very different to my usual lemony red lentil soup. The addition of squash both softens and fortifies the slightly grainy texture of the lentils.
Best of all are the spicy onions, which are slow cooked to a buttery, melting softness. Happily, the girls have taken against them, leaving more for us…;-)
The idea for this soup comes from a recipe in Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.
Lentil squash soup with turmeric and spicy onions
For the soup:
- 400g red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 500g)
- 1 Tb olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- a thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ground chilli, to taste
- salt and pepper
For the spicy onions:
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced into thin half moons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 hot chilli, seeded and minced
- In a soup pot over medium-high heat, bring the lentils and water to the boil. Skim to remove any foam, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes.
- Add the squash and cook until both the lentils and squash are soft.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion, and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook a couple of minutes more.
- Stir in the turmeric and chilli to taste.
- Add the contents of the frying pan to the soup and remove from the heat. Blend the soup until smooth and season to taste.
- To make the spicy onions, heat two tablespoons of oil in the frying pan over a medium-low flame. Add the onions, and cook until softened.
- Add the garlic and chilli and cook until the onions are a deep golden brown colour.
- Serve the soup with a generous spoonful of spicy onions.