During the winter months, soup-making is second nature for me and a way of using many of the winter vegetables I find at the farmer's market. I realized though that most of the really flavorful homemade Indian soups I grew up eating were actually lentil-based. Inspired by those recipes, I've started applying some of the same ingredients to soups I've been making out of winter squash, like butternut. I've found that cooked lentils and pureed squash actually have quite a similar texture and take on the flavors in much the same way.
I also like adding some sort of herb and lemon to finish it off. It comes out really well every time and the recipe is super versatile for different types of squash or herbs.
I got this really nice butternut squash and roasted it.
For this soup, I gave a nod to my North Indian roots and used garlic, ginger and green chilis, which along with onions, forms the base of many curries and dals from where my Dad is from in Uttar Pradesh. Instead of the usual onion I used leeks and spiced the soup with some cumin, coriander and turmeric powder.
For the herb this time, I added in some dill at the end and the flavors really came together well. Other herbs like cilantro, basil or mint could be subbed in if you don't have access to dill at the moment.
Spiced Butternut Squash & Dill Soup
1 butternut squash, roasted
2 tablespoon ghee or oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
2 green chilis or 1 jalapeño, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
6 cups water
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
salt to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
serve with dollop of yogurt (optional)
To roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut butternut squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy stuff. Coat the squash with about 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil and put them face down on a baking sheet. Cook the squash for about 25-30 minutes, or until they are soft to the touch.
Scoop out the inside of the squash and set aside.
In a pot, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil under medium-high heat. When hot, add in the leeks and fry until translucent and fragrant. Turn the heat to medium and stir the garlic, ginger and green chills in for 30 seconds.
Add in the cumin powder, turmeric, coriander powder and mix well. Immediately add in the butternut squash and stir well. Next add in the water and salt and stir again. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup. Mix in the dill, lemon juice and salt to your taste.
You can serve with a dollop of yogurt on the top.
This recipe originally appeared on The ABCD's of Cooking.