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Author Notes: When I carved our Halloween pumpkins this year, I noticed they were surprisingly juicy and fragrant. I used tea lights in them so there’d be no wax to deal with, then on the morning after, I roasted them to use in soup. We eat a lot of red lentils in our house, especially in “main dish” soups for dinner, so I put the pumpkin to good use this way. You can substitute any winter squash in this recipe, or even pureed, roasted carrots if you don’t happen to have any pumpkin or other squash on hand. See the note in the comments on using the roasted butternut squash skin to make a luscious, flavorful stock. ;o) —AntoniaJames
- 1 cup red lentils (rinsed) (or masoor dal)
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons ghee or neutral vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root
- 1 tablespoon curry poweder, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon toasted, freshly ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
- dashes cinnamon
- 2 or 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2" to 1-inch slices, depending on thickness (optional)
- 1 large apple (preferably a tart variety)
- 3 cups roasted pumpkin or butternut squash (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional, but see note below)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cups coconut milk (I use the "light" kind) (optional)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime (optional)
- 1/4 cup Greek or other whole milk yogurt (optional)
- Salt to taste
- If your pumpkin isn’t already roasted, see the note below. (Pureed canned pumpkin will do in a pinch. Roasted pumpkin is better, though. Butternut squash, roasted, is also a perfect substitute)
- Dice the onion and put it into the pot with 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- When the onions are just translucent, add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the curry powder, cumin, coriander and cinnamon. Stir as they sizzle and get brown, for about a minute, taking care not to let the spices or the onions and garlic burn.
- Add 4 cups of water, the carrots, if using, and the lentils. Stir well and cook over medium heat, adding more water if necessary. You want a fair bit of broth, because the lentils will soak it up quickly.
- Peel and coarsely chop the apple and add it to the soup.
- Puree the roasted pumpkin and add it, as well. If you aren't using carrots, and you have an immersion blender, you can just put the roasted pumpkin, coarsely chopped, into the pot, and blend it after cooking, in the pot.
- Cook for at least another ten minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, to prevent the lentils from sticking. When the lentils are fully cooked, add the coconut milk and fish sauce, if you are using them. (I highly recommend that you use both!.Cook for a minute or two longer, stirring well, all the while.
- Test and correct the seasonings.
- Stir in the cilantro and the lime juice, if you’re using it, then spoon into bowls and swirl a dollop of yogurt, if you like. Enjoy!!!.
- To roast a pumpkin: Remove the top, cut the pumpkin into quarters or halves, depending on the size of your roasting pan, scoop out the seeds and roast in a lightly oiled pan, uncovered, for 30 - 45 minutes at 400 degrees for a convection oven, or 420 degrees for a regular oven. A few minutes after putting it in the oven, add water just to cover the bottom of the pan; check it occasionally, to make sure that liquid doesn’t evaporate completely, and add more to prevent the pan from burning. Pumpkins are often very juicy, so this may not be a problem at all. When cooked, let the pumpkin cool and scoop and coarsely chop the flesh. Save the water from the roasting pan to use in the soup.
- NB: I've been adding a bit of fish sauce to this lately and just love what it does. Make sure you do so before testing and correcting for salt after the lentils and pumpkin have cooked together for a bit, as fish sauce, if too much is used, can make any dish too salty. You won't taste the fish sauce at all, but it will make the soup even tastier. I suspect we can thank the umami. ;o)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Beans