Curried Squash and Lentil Soup

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)

1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed

4 to 6 cups of water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

For coriander oil:

1/2 cup chopped coriander (cilantro)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

To make the soup, heat oil with butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add lentils and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Purée coriander, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender. Serve soup drizzled with cilantro oil.

The Culinary Chase's Note: Delicious flavors coming from this dish. Ladle soup over cooked basmati rice and top with coriander oil. A soothing soup that's perfect for a cool Fall evening.