Lentil and squash soup

Adapted from Nigel Slater, Kitchen Diaries. Can be made with pumpkin, sweet potato or carrots instead of squash. Very satisfying and comforting winter soup.

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
ginger – a walnut sized knob
200g red lentils
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground chilli
250g butternut squash, peeled and chopped (c. 2 cm cubes)
coriander – a small bunch, roughly chopped

Peel and roughly chop onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Peel the ginger, cut it into thin shreds and put all three into a good-sized saucepan with the lentils and 1.5 litres of water (or chicken stock if you have any and aren’t catering for vegetarians). Bring to the boil, and boil for 5 mins, then turn down to an enthusiastic simmer. Stir in the turmeric and chilli, season, add the chopped squash and leave to simmer, covered, for 20 mins.

Check that the squash (or whatever veg you’ve used) is soft, then blend (I use a stick blender in the pan). Stir in the roughly chopped coriander and serve.┬áNice with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt – and good bread.

Nigel Slater serves with spiced onions: 2 onions sliced thinly and cooked slowly in a frying pan with 2 tbsp oil, 2 chillis (take out seeds and slice finely, or use chilli flakes) and 2 cloves of garlic (finely sliced) until soft and brown. This is good, especially when you have a cold, but I rarely do it. Original recipe uses pumpkin, and cooks it separately.