Red Lentil & Squash Soup

I tried my first recipe from my new cookbook by the creator of Cannelle et Vanille, Aran Goyoaga’s Small Plates & Sweet Treats. I was more than blown away. I chose her “Creamy Red Lentil & Squash Soup with purple potato chips & Scallops”, only I topped mine off here with a crisp & spicy prosciutto instead of the scallops and potato chips. I tried it with those toppings and it was delightful- though I didn’t have the fantastic purple potatoes with which to make the beautiful combination of colour, so chose a different topping for my own take on it and a nice contrast in the images. I was not disappointed. The soup is so lovely, simple to make and full of fantastic flavour. I might even go so far as to say it’s the best soup I have ever made in my own kitchen…

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I do highly recommend this with the crispy potato chips on top- as well as scallops if you’re a seafood fan. But crisped prosciutto is also good on pretty much anything, and complements the sweetness of the squash very nicely. This is the perfect soup to come home to after a nice long outing in the cold, let me tell you. Of course the best part is that butternut squash is still in season, so buying your ingredients locally is possible. Recipe below…

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Credit to Aran Goyoaga for this splendid recipe – I highly recommend her book of gluten-free recipes, available here.

Ingredients:

-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 medium shallot, diced

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

-1 celery stalk, diced

-1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves ( Fresh is best, but I didn’t have any and used dry- be sure to use less if you’re going this route)

-1 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

-1 cup red lentils, rinsed

– 1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and diced (about 3 cups diced)

– 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced

-6 cups chicken stock (replace with vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)

– 2 small purple or yukon gold potatoes, very thinly sliced (optional for the topping)

– 4 ounces small sea scallops (optional for the topping)

-Fresh parsley or pan fried crispy prosciutto or prosciuttini torn into pieces for a garnish

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook the vegetable, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until tender but not mushy.

Add the red lentils, squash, russet potato, chicken stock, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simer for 20 minutes or  until all the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup in a blender. Adjust the seasoning if needed and keep warm.

For potatoes: In a small sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced potatoes in batches and cook until golden. Drain them on paper towels, reserve.

For the scallops: Remove most of the oil from the pan, season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook them over medium heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, depending on their size.

Variation: Pan fry thin slices of spicy prosciuttini or prosciutto, tear into small pieces.

Serve the soup warm topped with the potato chips, scallops, parsley flowers and black pepper (or prosciutto). The soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to 1 month.

 

 

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