Sunday, October 23, 2011

French Lentil Soup with Kabocha Squash and Fennel

Normally I'm a butternut girl.

Butternut soup. Coconut butternut curry. Butternut risotto. Butternut pizza.

I love me some versatility.

Fortunately, there are so many varieties of squash available this time of year.. buttercup, delicata, carnival and hubbard.. just to name a few.

This time around I snatched up a kabocha squash and scoured the internet for a recipe.

Kabocha is the generic japanese word for squash, but refers most commonly to the squash of the buttercup type.  The exterior is bluish green and the flesh is deep yellow.  It has a rich, sweet flavor and is often dry and flaky when cooked.

I had been craving a lentil soup for awhile and was psyched to come across this recipe from Heidi at 101 cookbooks.  I picked up some fennel, leeks and ginger and got to work.

French lentil soup with kabocha squash and fennel (serves 4)

1 1/2  lb. kabocha squash
1/2 c. water
1 T olive oil
1 c. french lentils
5 coins ginger, 1/8" thick
1 whole star anise
6 c. water
1 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 c. olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 leek, sliced
1 fennel bulb, medium dice
2 c. collard greens, thinly sliced into ribbons.  (kale or chard would work well too)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the top third of the oven.
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
Oil and salt the squash and roast cut side down (in a rimmed baking pan) with the 1/2 cup / 120 ml of water poured into the pan. Roast until tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. When cool enough, scoop out cooked squash and set aside.
In the meantime, in a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, ginger, star anise and water. Simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
In a large stockpot combine the olive oil, onion, leeks, fennel and additional salt. Cook covered over low heat until vegetables soften, about 7 - 10 minutes.
Remove the star anise and ginger coins from the lentil sauce pan, then add the lentils, lentil broth and squash to the vegetables in the stock pot. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes or so, allowing the flavors to blend. Add collard greens during the last five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning here with more salt if needed.

I topped these with some homemade garlicky croutons, per Heidi's suggestion. 

1 comment:

  1. I made this soup yesterday and it was delicious! The star anise and ginger gave the lentils a wonderful flavor that paired well with the fennel. Great to have a soup this tasty that is so nutritious as well.