Until I looked up images to make this recipe, I didn’t actually know what a Butternut Squash looked like. I attempted to make butternut squash soup last year but I shopped at an Asian market and purchased a green pumpkin (thinking it was equivalent). I know, it sounds terrible that a food lover doesn’t know her way around the fall squashes, but until the last few years I affiliated squash with that yellow spaghetti squash. It makes for a very tasty spaghetti alternative, but my knowledge was very limited.
For some reason I have a hard time with Fall (and therefore fall vegetables). I grew up in Arizona and although I spent high school and college in Kansas, I still see Fall as this season of waiting for the warm weather to return. Even though we have a beautiful array of fresh local vegetables year round in California, I kind of envy those who live in Chicago, Boston, New York, DC etc. They experience a full range of seasons and weather that we just don’t have.
That said, I like to follow beautiful blogs like Cannelle et Vanille. She takes beautiful photographs, worked as a pastry chef, is from the Basque country of Spain, is a mother of two and travels frequently. I often flip through her gluten free cookbook Small Plates and Sweet Treats, which focuses on seasonal meals that she cooks at home.
This recipe is adapted from her cookbook and I hope to try many more.
- 1-1/2 Tbs expeller pressed canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow sweet onion (or medium shallot), chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- leaves from 2 stems of fresh oregano or thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 6 cups (1.5 L) low sodium chicken stock
- In a large pan (or pot large enough for the soup), heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and incorporate until you smell it. Add the carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Incorporate the oregano and remove from the heat.
- Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large pot. Add the red lentils, squash, sweet potato, and chicken stock. Cover the pot and bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup in a blender in batches and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Serve with sour cream if desired.
Consider using the scraps from the onion, garlic, carrots, and squash to make a vegetable broth. If you have any dried shitake mushrooms, they go great in a vegetable broth. You can even use the broth to supplement the chicken stock if you’re like me and don’t want to buy two cartons. Just bring 2-1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot and add the scraps plus 2 celery stocks chopped, 1 medium shallot cut in half, 2 garlic cloves, and 4 dried shitake mushrooms. Keep the skins on for additional flavor. Return to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the shitake mushrooms to reuse, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and add salt to taste.
Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
I was even crazy and toasted the squash seeds with olive oil and salt! They go great in a salad.
Also, I changed up the format of this post and I would love your feedback. I put all the photos at the top, while I usually mix up the photos with text.