Don’t you just love soup? I know I do. Soups are delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. I believe you really need to go out of your way to make a soup unhealthy, and I have yet to encounter a soup that was difficult to make (including “frilly” sounding ones like French onion soup and creamy Vichyssoise).
This one is particularly easy, and doesn’t require any cream or even starchy potatoes to make it nice and creamy, mainly thanks to the sweet potatoes it contains.
When making soups that are to be blended, I normally like to go for stuff that’s around the same color. Here in Israel, the “orange” soup is very popular as a winter-time comfort food, and everyone makes it a bit differently, with different variations on the orange vegetables that go into into it.
This is my humble version.
Estimated time: 30 minute prep, 1 hour cook, 10 minute blend (not including cooling time)
Kosher Classification: Neutral
As you can see, the amounts aren’t strict here. Play on whatever you’ve got at home.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes
Half of a butternut squash
A large chunk of pumpkin
1 cup red lentils
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbs freshly ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
Start by sauteing the onion in a large pot, over medium heat.
As you’re doing this, peel and chop the carrots and add them to the pot to saute along with the onion. Try to chop the carrots into small-ish rounds, because they cook the slowest of all the vegetables in the soup.
While the carrots and the onions are sauteing, peel and dice the rest of the vegetables. For me, it’s easier to do this one type at a time, and just keep the chopped pieces in a big bowl so I have more cutting room.
If you, like me, are peeling-vegetable challenged, the onions will be golden brown long before you’re done preparing the rest of the vegetables. If this happens to you, it’s perfectly fine to just take the pot off the heat until you are ready.
Once everything is peeled and diced, add it (and the lentils) to the pot. No need to pre-soak the lentils, just rinse them a bit (who knows where they’ve been).
Add some salt and pepper, and the ground ginger and nutmeg. I’ve spoken of the wonders of ground nutmeg before, and I really believe that it is a wonderful addition to any creamy soup.
After adding the spices, mix the vegetables around so that no one vegetable dominates one part of the pot (OCD thought of the day: Isn’t it weird how difficult it is to “fake” randomness?), and add water until it just covers the vegetables. I normally just eyeball the amount of water, but for you guys I measured – it came out to about 8 cups of water.
Cook until all the vegetables are soft. An hour should be enough, but check even before then so that a) you are not just wasting electricity/gas and b) you know ahead of time if too much steam has escaped and you need to add water. The best telltale of a ready orange soup is soft carrots. Check one of the bigger pieces, just to be sure.
At this point, the soup can be served just like this, but I prefer to blend it to give it that creamy, velvety texture I love so much. I recommend using an immersion blender, since it is strong enough for this purpose, but. From my (not so great) experience with immersion blenders, most of them do not thrive so well in a hot environment. They usually overheat and start smoking from the top (happened to me twice last year). After which they do not work anymore. So, learn from my mistakes, and make sure to cool your soup before blending. Also, unless you absolutely know for sure your little blender can handle it, don’t operate it for too long, to prevent overheating. (Most manufacturers recommend no more than 30 seconds at a time. I’ve gotten away with a minute. Then again, I went through two of those within the span of a few months, so think carefully if you really want to listen to my advice regarding immersion blenders).
Serve hot as is, or with a dollop of cold yogurt or cream. I like to serve it with lemon-yogurt which is really refreshing with this soup. To make it, just add some lemon zest to regular, unflavored yogurt, mix and… BAM. You’ve got yourself a meal fit for kings.
- In a large pot over medium heat, saute the chopped onion. Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots, then add them to the pot to saute.
- Peel and dice the other vegetables (2 sweet potatoes, half a butternut squash, and a large chunk of pumpkin).
- Once the onion is golden, add the other vegetables and 1 cup red lentils, as well as the spices, and stir.
- Add water until it covers the vegetables.
- Boil until all vegetables are soft, about an hour.
- Let cool and blend with an immersion blender or in a food processor/blender.
- Serve hot.