This past weekend I had the huge privilege of cooking for Never Alone Widows, with thanks to the support of the Gary Sinise Foundation.  We laughed, we cried and enjoyed some really great food!  On our first morning together I got to teach a cooking demonstration, making October Glory Pumpkin Soup.  For those of you who have my cookbook, I made a few tweaks, including substituting the green lentils for red, cutting down the brown sugar by half, and adding toasted pumpkin seeds for the garnish.  The beauty about cooking is making each recipe your own, but I happened to really love these tweaks, so I am updating it with my faithful blog followers.

The cooler drop in temperature, vibrant fall colors, and abundance of gourds, pumpkins and root vegetables draw us to create cozy, heart warming soups. The other good news is that Lentils are very nutritious!  Lentils are low in calories, rich in iron, rich in folic acid and potassium, high in fiber and an excellent source of protein. Don’t you just love it when food not only tastes great, but it’s good for you too?

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and a few pictures too from our unforgettable weekend of love, hope and October Glory!

October Glory Pumpkin and Lentil Soup (with Pumpkin Seeds and Crème Fraiche)

 Pumpkin & lentil soup ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh root ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 7 oz. (1 cup) red lentils (rinsed and soaked)
  • 2 ½ pints (5 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 lb. peeled pumpkin or a 16-oz. can of pumpkin purée
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Cinnamon Toasted Pumpkin Seeds ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Dash of salt and cinnamon

Garnish ingredients:

  • 3–4 Tbsp. crème fraiche (to garnish)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice

How to make it:

  1. Soak the lentils for a few hours beforehand to remove any foreign materials.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat and sauté the onions until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Add the fresh root ginger and sauté for a few more minutes with the onions.
  4. Add the stock, lentils, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring well.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are soft.
  6. Purée the soup with a food mill or liquidize in a blender.
  7. Transfer the soup to a saucepan and slowly heat through. Stir in the cream and taste to adjust seasoning.
  8. To toast the pumpkin seeds, combine them in a small skillet with the olive oil, cinnamon and salt and stir for 2 minutes until they are golden and fragrant.
  9. Prepare the garnish by blending a little kosher salt with lemon juice, mixing them into the crème fraiche.
  10. Serve the soup in warmed bowls with a dollop of the crème fraiche mixture and a small handful of pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy as always,  with all of my love from the Shamrock and Peach (Judith) xx