FRENCH LENTIL TOMATO SQUASH SOUP


We are continuing to use up the copious amounts of squash we still have on hand. I think I am in love with this soup!  So flavorful, hearty, and the squash really adds a nice texture.  If you have never tried Hubbard Squash in soup you have to trust me here - it is delicious.  It is a more thick textured squash than others I have tried, and fairly sweet tasting.   I had about 4 lbs. of the Hubbard Squash left, so this time I decided to cut it into chunks, place in a roasting pan with an inch of water, cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Some of it went in this soup, the leftover, I decided to freeze for down the road.
We are once again in a cold snap with the prediction of more snow.  Its the kind of cold that gets deep into your bones...all I can think of is a piping hot bowl of soup to warm them bones!  Actually, I had two bowlfuls but whose counting?
1 large leek, trimmed, cleaned cut into quarters, then sliced
Olive oil
1/2 of a large onion, diced
5-6 minced garlic cloves
3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced with leaves or about 1 Tblsp. dried celery leaves
one 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, (I ran it through the food processor to puree, but that is optional)
4 cups of Chicken Stock
2/3 cup of French Blue Lentils (this soup does thicken by day two, so I would not add extra lentils)
1 cup of pureed Hubbard squash - or butternut or buttercup squash would work too with a different texture and sweetness
1 tsp. fresh minced Sage
1 tsp. dried Thyme
2 Bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat up a dutch oven on medium low heat with a good drizzle of Olive Oil.  Add in the leeks, carrots, celery and leaves, salt and pepper.  Saute about 12 minutes.  Then add in the minced garlic, sage, thyme, and bay leaves.  Continue to saute about 2 more minutes.  Pour in the tomato puree, chicken stock, and French blue lentils.  Stir to combine, turn down to low, cover and low simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Half way through cooking, add in the pureed squash, stirring to combine. After the lentils are cooked, adjust seasonings.  Serve hot - great for lunch or dinner.

Ina Gawne
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December 6, 2010
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