Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ethiopian-Style Soup

I say "Ethiopian-Style" soup because the flavours are inspired by the Ethiopian stews I like to make, but is not any "real" Ethiopian dish that I know of. In many ways it is just a simple and thinned down stew packed with that nourishing lentil-y goodness that I love about Ethiopian food. This was also a great way to use the first squash of the season (see below). I used Bonbon which had a delectable texture and gave the soup a wonderful sweetness to offset the spicy heat. It was even better the next day.

Makes a lot
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cup sliced shallots
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- berbere to taste
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 10 cups water
- 6-8 cups chopped squash (or sweet potato)
- 1/4 chopped fresh parsley (more for garnish)
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a large stock pot over med-hi heat. Add onions and saute for a few mins, until the onions get a nice golden brown on the edges (don't burn them, though). Add shallots, garlic, and ginger and reduce heat to med-lo. Cook for about 20-25 mins, until the mixture has nice brown colour.
2. Add spices and lentils and raise heat back to med-hi, stirring to mix everything well. When sizzling (the spices will stick a bit), add 6 cups of the water. Bring to bubbling, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for at least 30 mins (longer is nicer, if you have the time, so that the lentils and onions can break down), stirring regularly.
3. Add the remaining four cups of water along with the squash and parsley, bring to bubbling over med-hi heat, then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 20-30 mins, or until squash is cooked through. Adjust seasonings to taste, garnish, and serve.