I know I was going to stop blogging about Thanksgiving, but there was just one little problem - leftovers. Oh no, we managed to lap up all the leftover food in less than a week, but my overzealous shopping and stock-making left me with a few leftover ingredients:
Clockwise from top left: giblet stock, beets, carrots, rosemary
While I'm sure it would've been a fine challenge to make something just out of those ingredients, something caught my eye while I was at Sweetgrass Market the week before and I couldn't stop thinking about them...
So I knew I wanted to make a squash soup and then something with beets... I was originally leaning toward a curried squash soup, but then remembered all the herbs that I threw into my giblet stock and figured that that wouldn't go. I turned to my trusty Google Reader and searched through my 102 feeds of mostly food blogs for "squash" and "beetroot". I searched beetroot because Kathryn of Limes & Lycopene is a total beet fiend, and I was trying to hit all of her recipes, but she's Australian, and outside of North America beets are referred to as beetroot... but more of that in Part 2.
I ended up finding a recipe that sounded interesting and easy, and incorporated 3 of the 4 leftover ingredients (!) from The Great Big Vegetable Challenge. The premise of the blog is a mom (Charlotte) whose son Freddie didn't like vegetables, so to get him to eat them and start liking them, they went through the whole alphabet, finding two or three vegetables for each letter, and Charlotte made creative recipes with all of them! There are soups, muffins, veggie burgers, quiches, frittatas... the challenge has long been over now and Charlotte's even published a book about it, and most importantly, Freddie (and his sister Alex) are now veggie lovers :)
I ended up heading to the Farmers' Market and "squash and apples" seemed to be the theme of the weekend - it was actually hard to find butternut squash because that was probably all that people were familiar with and snapped up! There was lots of spaghetti squash, acorn squash, buttercup squash, and even lesser known ones like red kuri squash and kabocha (Japanese pumpkin). I finally found a nice, medium-sized butternut squash, then also picked up some apples (honeycrisp, my favourite), some other ingredients, then headed back home.
Charlotte has this neat tip where you roast the butternut squash with some sprigs of rosemary tucked underneath. The recipe just called for half the squash, so I put the other half in a warm salad and it's so good - the rosemary just perfumes the flesh of the squash, and it certainly helps that rosemary is one of my favourite herbs.
The soup also has onions, carrots, and potato.
Done with a neat white balance trick I learned from Donna Ruhlman
But the secret ingredient is definitely the smoked paprika...
My dietitianly self thought the soup was lacking in protein, and so my first thought was lentils - I prefer lentils over beans because they are much more low maintenance; they don't require soaking before you cook them. While the Farmers' Market did have some local dried beans for sale, I couldn't resist picking up these A.O.C. Du Puy lentils, as they reminded me of a dear friend of mine who absolutely loves them.
And the soup itself is simply delightful, with the smokiness of the paprika and the earthy sweetness of the squash and the carrots. The lentils give it texture and substance, and it's lovely paired with something a little salty, like garlic toast or crackers. And you know it's good when my brother, who would often choose to go out for food instead of having free leftovers at home, says one night at dinner, "Is there any of that squash soup leftover? I'd like some in the morning."
Smoky Butternut Squash, Carrot and Lentil Soup
Adapted from The Great Big Vegetable Challenge
Makes ~2 L of soup
- Half a medium butternut squash, seeds removed (~700 g)
- Olive oil
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 5 medium carrots, diced
- 5 mL (1 tsp) smoked paprika
- 1 L (4 cups) of low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 250 mL (1 cup) of Du Puy or green lentils, picked through and rinsed
- 750 mL (3 cups) water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- (Optional) Plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Rub olive oil on flesh of squash and place the squash cut side-down with a little rosemary underneath. Bake for 40-60 minutes in the oven, or until flesh of squash is completely softened. Set aside to cool.
- Sauté onion, garlic, potato and carrot in a large pot or saucepan with a little olive oil and paprika until onions are softened and translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Scoop out butternut squash flesh and throw it in the pot along with the stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
- While soup is simmering, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add in lentils. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils have softened and water is almost gone. Drain and set aside.
- Remove soup from heat and blend soup using a food processor, blender or hand blender. Stir in lentils and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and a dash of pepper or paprika.
Nutrition Info (for ⅛ of recipe, about 1 cup): 171 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated) 0 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates (10 g fibre, 4 g sugar), 9 g protein, 309 mg sodium. An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, potassium and manganese. A good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.