…with a berbere spice!
Berbere is a spice mix found in Ethiopian food. This isn’t the real thing, it’s a simplification and an approximation, but it is tasty and does go well with red lentils and butternut squashes.
Here’s the meltingly beautiful Tezeta, by Mulatu Astatke to listen to while you stir your soup.
one medium-sized butternut squash
1 cup red lentils – rinsed well and drained
2 T olive oil
1 shallot – fine dice
1 clove garlic – fine dice
1 t. ground cumin
1 T spanish paprika
1/2 t ground fenugreek
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t. each ground cardamon, allspice, turmeric
1/8 t. each cinnamon & Cloves
cayenne pepper to taste (Make it as hot as you like it)
water or broth
1. Roast your squash. Preheat oven to 450. Cut the squash in half, lay it cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until it’s brown on top and falling apart inside. Time will vary depending on the size, but it will probably take 30 or 40 minutes.
2. Warm the olive oil, add the shallots, when they start to brown add the garlic. Add the lentils, and stir to coat in oil.
3. Add all the spices. These are all easy to burn, which will turn them bitter, so work quickly, and stir often.
5. scrape the squash out of its skin into the soup, stirring it around and breaking it up. Let it cook for a minute or two, and then add water or broth to cover. (Lentil-cooking water works here!)
6. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are soft – 20 – 30 minutes.
7. Add salt & pepper to taste, a dollop of butter and a dash of balsamic.
8. At this point you can blend all, some, or none of the soup, depending on how smooth you want it to be. I like to blend half, so it’s smooth but still has some texture.
Add liquid till it’s the consistency you desire, and warm it through again.
NOTE: If you don’t happen to have all the spices listed, the soup can be made with a combination of just a few – whatever you have and like!