Sunday, 6 May 2012

French Lentil Butternut Soup

Do you like your food to be pretty?  Although we hear that you eat with your eyes first, I can't help but think my mouth is always making the final decision.  Sometimes a photo can inspire me to make a dish, but the ingredient list is what will get me into the kitchen. The minute a list starts using processed ingredients or a lot of high calorie components, I'm turned off regardless of how good it looks.

This simple soup comes together quickly and easily providing you with yet another low calorie, healthy vegetarian option.  I made a big pot of this on the weekend and then portioned it into containers for lunches this week.  To make it even simpler you could use canned lentils and pre-chopped butternut squash.  The French lentils won't fall apart when cooking and end up looking like glistening black pebbles in the bottom of your bowl. They can be tricky to find but are worth seeking out. 

Star Anise might be one of the prettiest spices around but it also lends a great flavour to the broth.  Fished out before serving, the star anise have a slight liquorice flavour that add a lot of depth to the soup.  If you haven't tried this spice before, pick up a couple at your local bulk store and give this soup a try.  The true beauty of the soup is the great taste and nourishing ingredients, but the pretty presentation sure makes it appealing to take that first bite.

French Lentil Butternut Soup

Adapted from  101 cookbooks
1 butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 leek chopped white parts only
1 shallot chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 cup dry French lentils (2cups cooked)
1 tsp fresh ginger minced
2 star anise
6 cups water
If cooking lentils from dry:
In a small pot combine 2-3cups boiling water with cup of lentils.  Cook about 20-30 min until tender.  Drain and reserve.
To make the soup:
In a large pot coated with olive oil, add leeks, shallot and celery.  Saute until lightly browned and softened at med-low heat; about 10min.  Add the minced garlic and stir for about 1min.  Add the star anise, butternut squash and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15min, until squash is tender.  Add lentils and season with salt and pepper.  Remove star anise and serve.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment