Red Lentil Squash Soup

Red Lentil and Squash Soup
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
4 – 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots (two medium carrots)
1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
2 cups roasted winter squash (butternut, acorn, or delicata)
2 cups dried red lentils
8 cups chicken stock (vegetable is okay)
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chopped kale or chard

Preparations:

Sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft in large soup pot, about 15 minutes.

In a blender add one cup stock and roasted winter squash.  Blend this mixture until smooth.  Return to soup pot, add remaining stock, lentils and thyme.   Simmer, covered, until lentils are done, approximately 45 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse, de-stem, and chop the kale or chard.  Stir into soup 5 minutes before serving so that they retain their bright green color.  Like most soups, the flavor improves with time.

How to roast winter squash:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Halve squashes.  Clean out seeds. Place cut side down in a shallow baking dish.  Bake until tender but firm – about 40 minutes.  If there is any squash left over don’t throw it away!  Just store in the refrigerator for your next meal.  Heat it up and melt a little butter on it.  If you want a little sweet taste then sprinkle some walnuts and a little brown sugar on top.

If you use the entire bag (16 oz) of the dried red lentils, then you will want to add 10 cups of chicken stock unless you like the soup real thick, like I do.  I like to use Better Than Bouillon mixed into hot water instead of chicken stock because it’s so flavorful, but chicken stock is just fine too.  Vegetable stock is fine if you’re vegetarian.

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