i had been in the mood to try a new soup when epicurious posted a curried butternut squash and lentil soup as its recipe of the week. i bookmarked it, made sure i had plenty of broth in the freezer and made my first trip to kalustyan's.
i don't know which was more fun: exploring kalustyan's shelves or making the soup. this picture reflects only a portion of the shelves of spices in the store.
as for the soup, it turned out better than i expected. i made a few alterations to the recipe: i didn't add the ginger. to be honest, i didn't add the ginger because i had forgotten to pick it up. when i realized i didn't have ginger, i just couldn't go back outside because, y'all, its cold up here in new york. but, after completion, i was happy that i didn't have the ginger. i think it would have added a little too much sweetness to the soup.
i only added 1 quart (4 cups) of liquid - 3 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water. i also added a teaspoon of cumin and a tablespoon of white wine.
i topped the soup with the cilantro oil. i also topped the soup with butternut squash seeds that i toasted in harissa - spicy, tangy and crispy - they were a perfect topping.