Sunday, August 19, 2012

VEGETARIAN FOOD BLOG: SPICED PUMPKIN AND LENTIL SOUP


This is super comfort soup. Super because it contains only ingredients designed to nourish and power your body. And comfort because it's hearty warmth will take the edge off the harshest nights.

Where I'm sitting in Sydney the days are gradually getting warmer, but there's still plenty of opportunities to whip this up before the hot nights hit. If you're up north, mark this one for the coming seasons.

This spiced pumpkin and lentil soup even goes down well at a dinner party. I served it as a starter at my 30th birthday party a while back.



This is my adaptation. Credit where credit's due to the Vegetarian Adventure Cookbook, a New Zealand number by Rowan Bishop and Sue Carruthers that has been part of my kitchen for more than a decade.

A good pumpkin is always the key to an outstanding pumpkin dish. However, I'm happy to report that even average pumpkins come up tasting superb here once the spices and lentil do their work.

RECIPE: SPICED PUMPKIN AND LENTIL SOUP
3/4 cup brown lentils
1 cup water
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 T butter (optional)
2 T olive oil
1-2 onions, chopped
1/3-1/4 pumpkin (depending on size) chopped roughly
1 cup vegetable stock (I dissolve a cube in boiling water)
extra water if needed
black pepper 
thick yoghurt (compulsory)
chopped fresh coriander (very optional)

Place lentils in small pot with water and lid and bring to the boil, lowering heat to simmer until water absorbed or lentils cooked. This will take about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in large pot and saute onions over medium hear until soft. Turn heat to low and cook spices briefly - only about 30 seconds.

 Prepare stock and add to large pot with pumpkin. Chop pumpkin according to how quickly you want soup to cook. Turn heat up and put lid on until boiling. Lower to simmer and cook until pumpkin mushy. Add 1/2 cup more boiling water if it looks too thick for your liking. Add lentils to soup at whichever point they are done, or nearly done. They will continue cooking with the pumpkin. 

Remove from stove and use stick blender to process, leaving a little bit of texture. It's nice if you can still get a sense of the lentils. Grind over plenty of black pepper, and taste for salt seasoning.

Gently reheat when ready to eat and serve each bowl with a generous dollop of thick creamy yoghurt. Garnish with little chopped coriander if desired (but it's delicious without too).


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