I love all kinds of soup. I make batches of the stuff at the weekend and freeze it for cheap, ready to go weekday lunches. From frozen it just takes 8 minutes to heat in the microwave at work. There is something nourishing about a hot bowl or mug of homemade soup that makes me feel special and cherished. I just had to make one for our recent Supperclub. I tried and tested so many different types of squash and pumpkin out on our family and friends that I think I’ve put them off soup for life! This recipe is a marriage of Turkish and Moroccan flavours.
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks, seeds removed
Splash of olive oil
Turkish red chilli flakes
500g of red lentils
2 red onions, chopped into quarters
1 litre of chicken stock
Heat an oven to a moderate heat 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6.
Put the chopped butternut squash and red onions on a baking tray, sprinkle with chilli flakes and a drizzle olive oil. Rub the oil and chilli flakes into the vegetables. Roast the onion and squash for about 30-40 minutes; this gives them an intense, sweeter flavour.
Meanwhile bring the chicken stock and lentils to the boil in a large pan. Cover the pan with a lid but leave it ajar so it doesn’t boil over. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or 20 minutes if using split red lentils, until the lentils are soft and can be easily mashed with a fork. Older lentils take longer to cook, just make sure they don’t run out of water.
Leave the lentils to cool slightly and then add the roasted onions and squash to the pan. Blend the soup with a hand-held blender, or tip into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth then return to the pan. Check the consistency; it will be fairly thick so add more water if you want. Season to taste then reheat and serve with a dollop of yoghurt.
- Butternut squash and red onions – £1 a bowl stall outside Sainsburys’, High Street, E17
- Turkish chilli flakes – International Supermarket, 15- 17 High Street, E17
- Red lentils – 1kg bag from Sam’s 99p Shop, High Street, E17