Curried Red Lentil and Butternut Soup

Serves 6

Squash halves are roasted to concentrate their flavor and make the vegetable easier to deal with. Tender red lentils practically melt during simmering, and you can puree the soup for a smoother texture.

1 medium butternut squash (3½ pounds)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup red lentils

6 cups chicken stock

Juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste

1 cup plain yogurt (for serving)

 

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 10-inch baking dish.

2. Halve squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place cut sides down in the baking dish and add ½ cup water. Cover with foil and roast for one hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

3. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and cut into bite-size pieces.

4. In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for
8 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add the curry powder and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

5. Add the squash and lemon juice to the pot and gently stir to heat the squash through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Serve the soup chunky or puree in a blender. Ladle into bowls and garnish each one with yogurt. 

By Claudia Catalano. Originally published in The Boston Globe.