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RAINY DAY BLUES: butternut squash and red lentil soup

On a day that feels more like Seattle any day than a Buenos Aires summer day, all I feel like doing is making this beautiful yellow concoction of sweet butter nut squash and lentils. Zero judgement whatsoever if you hibernate for the day because it’s raining and are currently wrapped up in a blanket, watching tv with a hot bowl of this soup in your hands, on a Tuesday, at 2pm…

I’ve recently returned from an extended trip through California, a state that’s brown and grey after a record drought. It was warm enough that I went swimming in the ocean as far north as San Luis Obispo and was able to walk around San Francisco in shorts and a t-shirt IN JANUARY. Now I’m back in Buenos Aires, where the initially sticky hot temperature has taken a bizarre turn to chilly and rainy. There is nothing more soul crushing than to have THREE POOL PARTIES (the first ones I’ve been invited to this summer) cancelled because of the rain. Some higher power is adamant that I don’t go swimming and I don’t know why. As I type my house is shaking from an absurdly long thunderstorm, it’s been going on for 8 straight hours with no end in sight. Just in case I have this soup on the stove and The Spoils of Babylon (which everyone should become a fan of if they aren’t already) revved up and ready to go in case the internet goes out again. Or if it doesn’t, I’m the only one home and there is no one here to judge me but myself for watching TV at 2 o’clock on a weekday afternoon.

This recipe came to me after being gifted a bag of red lentils. I had no idea what to do with them. I just wasn’t particularly excited about them. There is something fundamentally displeasing about lentil soup, every time I see that murky brown color I can’t help but shake the feeling I’m about to chow down on river water. So it sat in the back of my cupboard for a solid half year, uninspired.

That was until I came across a reddit post about red lentil and sweet potato soup, blended into a beautiful yellow concoction worthy of my picky eyes.

To make this soup you will need the following:

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash; peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • 3 medium onions; roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 chiles; chopped (if you have chipotle chiles, use them, otherwise you can use roasted jalapeños)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons each of red curry and chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (coconut milk also works)
  • Lemon to taste
  • Black beans and sour cream for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add your onions until they are translucent. Throw in the garlic and stir around until fragrant. Add the chiles and pumpkin and mix it all together. Cover mixture with vegetable broth and extra water and mix in lentils, curry and ginger. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork.

Transfer mixture to a blender. Always be careful when mixing hot liquids as it will expand and shoot up, too much liquid in the blender will most definitely stain your walls with pumpkin soup and burn the skin. I like to firmly hold a towel over the top of my blender just in case.

Mix in a cup of plain yogurt (or coconut milk if you prefer) and some salt, pepper and lemon to taste. Garnish with some black beans and your choice of sour cream or greek yogurt.

This is my favorite kind of soup: mixed to creamy perfection with a variety of subtle flavors to keep the palate interested. The slightly sweet butternut is complimented by the intensity of the chiles and ginger, and then wait, there’s that greek yogurt on top with that light bit of sour. TODO DIVINO. Don’t be scared to curl up in a blanket and laugh your ass off with me at The Spoils of Babylon, no one’s judging.

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