This is the perfect fall soup. A lot of butternut squash soups are disturbingly sweet, but this one manages to stay firmly entrenched in the savory world where it belongs. I tried this originally as part of a collection of Palestinian recipes from Saveur Magazine last year and I've made it many times since then. The original recipe used carrots and celery, but the bell pepper and tomato tasted just as good and I honestly couldn't taste a big difference. So use whatever you have.
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic
2-3 cups of mixed vegetables like carrot, celery, bell pepper, tomato, or zucchini cut into dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 cup red lentils
6 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
paprika and parsley to garnish
In a soup pot over a medium high flame, heat a few tablespoons of oil and use it to sauté the onion and garlic. When the onion looks soft, add in the other mixed vegetables and a little bit of salt. Continue to fry until the vegetables look soft. Add in the cumin and red pepper flakes and stir. Now pour in the lentils and the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until the squash and lentils are completely soft, maybe 20 minutes or so. Season it to taste with salt and pepper, and when the soup has cooled off blend it either in a processor or with an immersion blender. Garnish it if you like with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, and some chopped parsley. Serve it with the lemon wedges on the side.
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