Recipe Tip: Spicy squash and lentil soup
Top Recipe for 6 Persons by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. All ingredients and tips for getting it right. River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares this recipe from his latest book with Falstaff.
- 2 tablespoonvegetable or coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon(s)cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon(s)coriander seeds
- 1bay leaf
- 1large onion, chopped
- 1 kgsquash, such as Crown Prince, kabocha or butternut
- 3garlic cloves, roughly chopped or coarsely grated
- 1knob of fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon(s)ground turmeric or
- 1 tablespoonfinely grated fresh turmeric
- 1 ½red chilli, chopped (deseeded for less heat if you prefer), or
- 1 teaspoon(s)tsp dried chilli flakes
- 150 gred lentils, well rinsed
- 800 mlvegetable stock
- sea salt and black pepper
- ½medium cucumber
- 100 mlnatural yoghurt (dairy or plant-based)
- 2 tablespoonchopped mint or coriander (optional)
- Dukka (optional)
- Olive or chilli oil (optional)
Step 1Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the cumin and coriander seeds and the bay leaf. Fry for a few minutes until they start to sizzle, then add the onion. As soon as it is sizzling, reduce the heat and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, peel and deseed the squash, then cut into large cubes (you need about 600g prepared weight).
Step 2Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli to the onion and continue to fry gently for 3–4 minutes, then add the chopped squash and toss with the onion over the heat for a minute or two.
Step 3Add the rinsed lentils to the pan, pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Then cover the pan and let the soup cook gently for 15–20 minutes, lifting the lid to stir regularly, until the squash is tender and the lentils have broken down into a rough purée.
Step 4Meanwhile, make the raita: coarsely grate the cucumber, wrap it in a clean tea towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid, then tip into a bowl. Add the yoghurt, and herbs if using, mix well and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside or keep in the fridge if you are making the raita more than an hour ahead of serving.
Step 5Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Either bash and crush the squash with a wooden spoon or potato masher to get a nice rough texture, or blitz the soup until smooth, using a stick blender in the pan, or a jug blender. Add some hot water if needed to loosen the texture a little – I like it thick but not so that you can actually stand a spoon up in it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 6Reheat the soup gently if necessary and ladle into warmed bowls.
Step 7Dollop some raita on top. Finish, if you like, with a sprinkle of dukka and/or a trickle of olive oil, or chilli oil if you have some and fancy an extra kick of heat.