Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin soup with red lentils and kaffir lime

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How do I love thee, pumpkin? Let me count the recipes.

Remember the six-pound can of pumpkin puree my husband brought home? The one that was bigger than my head? I spent all day last Sunday cooking with it. First I made pumpkin beef chili in the slow cooker, which we'll have for dinner tomorrow night (I try to work a few nights ahead). Then I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, which have been quite a hit with the kids. I also made a pumpkin chocolate chip bundt cake to take to a party, but I had a little mishap when I turned it out of the pan: I spaced on the fact that it was a bundt and therefore did not have to be turned right-side-up, and it ended up in a million pieces. So I crumbled it into a bowl, sprinkled it with pear liqueur, layered it with whipped cream, and called it trifle. Lemons into lemonade.

Finally, I put up a big pot of this pumpkin soup with red lentils. I love the texture of red lentils, the way they melt into the background. The Thai spice paste and coconut milk work perfectly with the sweetness of the pumpkin - this is a warm, hearty, creamy soup that's healthy and satisfying. It's also vegan, if that matters to you.

As for the kaffir limes, they're worth seeking out at a Thai or south Asian market. They've got a very strong smell, almost soapy. Most recipes that include kaffir lime at all use the leaves, not the fruit, but I got the limes from a coworker with a tree, so I thought I'd try them. If you can find them, give it a whirl. If not, normal limes will work just as well.

Pumpkin soup with red lentils and kaffir lime
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1 kaffir lime (substitute regular lime)
  • salt to taste
  • toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot, then add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds; do not let the garlic brown. Add the curry paste and cook another minute, until the vegetables are coated with the spice mixture. Put into the pot the lentils, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and water or broth, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook over low heat about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and falling apart.

Puree the soup in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender. If it's too thick, add more water to get it to the consistency you prefer. Stir in the lime juice and lime zest, check the seasoning, and add salt to taste. Serve hot, garnished with the toasted pumpkin seeds.


Monet said...

Red Lentils? Check. Coconut milk? Check. Pumpkin? Check. This is perfect for me! I love the ingredients in this fall-inspired soup, and I'm always about soup and bread on a cool fall night. Thanks for sharing Erika :-)

Sippity Sup said...

Really? 6 pounds. Boy is he ever in the swing of season. And now, so are you (and me... and all your lovely readers) GREG

Erika Kerekes said...

@Greg - I can't get enough of pumpkin at this time of year. Butternut squash, too. It's like all of a sudden my body is craving vitamin A and won't shut up until I fulfill its request.

Nancy said...

I love the Thai influence in this soup. Unfortunately my husband would never bring home a nice big can of pumpkin... (sigh).

Erika Kerekes said...

@Nancy - mine is good that way. You never know. Yours might surprise you!

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