Sunday, November 20, 2011

Butternut and Red Lentil Soup

Sometimes the best recipes in the world are the results of improvisation.  This soup is just that.  We are concentrating on getting ready for Thanksgiving, which means a lot of things.  I can't help but think about what I am thankful for.  In a way, it's too much.  I don't want to even say.  But Thanksgiving day sums up so much of it.  I love being around family and friends.  I love just hanging around, I love the cooking too.

Back to the soup.  It's a combination of broth from turkey soup we made a while back and froze.  The butternut squash I got, just because I wanted it, and baked it.  Like a lot of things Kirsty makes,  it's a bit of winging it, so the recipe won't be precise.
This is an image of the baked squash.  It's pretty much a gorgeous saturated orange color.

1 whole butternut squash
     halved, seeded and baked 1 hour at 350 degrees in 1/4 inch of water on a cookie sheet
1 quart turkey broth (unfrozen)
1/2 large onion chopped
1 leek white and light green parts chopped
2 Tbsp curry powdered
1 Tbsp ginger powdered
1 Tbsp garam marsala powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 pound dried red lentils

Saute onions and leek in butter and olive oil to a nice caramelized color.  Add the red wine to get all the goodness from the pan.  Reduce red wine.  Add to turkey and squash in a large pot.   Mix with the immersion mixer.  If you don't have one, either try the Cuisinart or blender.   Add spices and simmer.  We realized it was thinner than we wanted, so next came the red lentils.  I haven't seen these at the regular store.  We were at the Afgan market is where I found these.  They're tiny, relatively speaking, and a fairly bright (for beans) kind of orangish red.  They were about twice the price of the regular lentils, for what that's worth.  These lentils only took about 15-20 minutes to soften, and it's ready.  Salt and pepper to taste.  We garnished with spicy pumpkin and butternut squash seeds.

Jib Jab with Tim
This soup is one of those moments where everything just works.  It was so frigging good, especially the aftertaste, which was sweet and rich, I think the key is the combination of the lentils and squash.  I'm kind of excited about the butternut squash too.  It's a beautiful color, and a really sweet and delicious flavor, including the seeds, which we toasted, spicy seeds.

 Mom just had her birthday last week.  I'm not sure if she would mind me saying, she's 78 now.  Yep, she's still working.  I think she's talked about retiring about every year for the last 10 or 12 years.  She's a school nurse in an impacted school.  She still travels around the world, and out to San Francisco, where she's reading about a guy named Steve Jobs, pronounced Jobes. 
    "It's Jobs, mom. "
    "Oh, is it? Okay.  I wonder how Jobes got along with anyone?" 
    "I think some people had a hard time with Jobs, mom."
These are the spicy sweet pumpkin and butternut seeds.  I've toasted them in the oven, but these were done in a pan, and actually, now I think this is the way to do it.  Essentially, nothing in the pan, just the seeds.  Then add the seeds to the oil and spices.  That's it!

What's next? 
Yes, there are those peppers.  I've got a huge number of them.  I've been eying a bunch of recipes, and what I'm looking at is either exactly a recipe my sister-in-law shared for hot pepper sauce, or something with some oil.  The vinegar version I've made, thank you Jackie, and it turned out so good, and so easy.  I've got a couple jars in the fridge, one for Jackie.

The fridge is getting a little cleaned out, maybe to be refilled with Thanksgiving leftovers.  What a wonderful cycle.

What else? 
My cousin's twin boys.  Are they my cousins?  Or nephews?  I have no idea.  My cousin in Marquette, Michigan has twin sons, William and Daniel, or Bill and Dan.  They're going to join us for Thanksgiving!  I'm pretty excited about it.  They live in San Francisco, both fascinating and handsome and nice young men.  Their grandmother, my aunt Kallie was such a special person, and an important part of my life.  It's a special thing to connect, and have Dan and Bill for Thanksgiving.

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