26 November, 2010

Squash and lentil soup

Our east-west mashup of a basic Indian lentil soup and New-England fall flavors turned out to be a big hit! Since it tasted so good, i thought i'd share...

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
2 yellow onions, chopped small-ish
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1-2 sweet apples, peeled and chopped
4 c. chicken broth 
4 c. water
cilantro, chopped fine

garam masala
chili powder
cayenne pepper
whole cumin seeds (a sprinkle)

In a soup pot, sautee onions and garlic-ginger paste in melted butter. In a separate saucepan, combine lentils, spices, and half the chicken broth and water. Add about half the sauteed onions to the lentils and cook until lentils are very soft. 

Meanwhile, in the soup pot, combine the squash, apple, and remaining broth and water. Spice as desired; when Trish went wild and we felt  it had gotten a bit too authentically Indian, we poured off part of the cooking liquid and replaced it with water, successfully turning things back down a notch. 

Bring the squash et cetera to a boil, then simmer til tender. Puree in a blender and return to soup pot. Stir in the chopped cilantro - it was about three-quarters cup, i think - but reserve some to add color for presentation, if you like. 

Mash the lentils until most are broken, and add them to the squash puree. This gives the soup an amazing texture. Simmer for twenty minutes or so to let cultures and flavors mingle… and enjoy!

It might seem complicated, but in principle this recipe is a simple question of blending textures and following your taste buds (hence the omission of any measurements for the spices). And don't forget, we took two radically different recipes and found a way to hybridize - more proof that recipes are at best a point of departure.