This warming soup is a wee hug in a bowl, perfect for those darker, earlier nights. Red lentils can be substituted for green, but I prefer green for this dish as it adds a deep, peppery flavour and they tend to retain their shape better for presentation.

Serves 4+

1tbsp olive oil
Pinch cumin seeds
250g chorizo
1 carrot chopped into small cubes.
2 celery stalks finely chopped.
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
1.5 tbsp smoked paprika.
400g diced pumpkin or butternut squash.
1 dried bay leaf
150g green lentils
1 vegetable stock cube
600g water
Salt and pepper to season

Slice the chorizo and finely chop the onion, pepper and garlic. Sauté the chorizo in a pan on a medium heat with the olive oil and cumin seeds until the chorizo is crispy and its oil has been fully released. 
Remove the sausage, leaving the flavoured chorizo oil in the pan to fry the onion, garlic and peppers. When the onion is soft, add in the paprika, chopped carrots and celery and fry off on a low heat for another 5 minutes.
 Add all the remaining ingredients and the chorizo back to the pan and cook for 45-55 minutes until the pumpkin/butternut squash is very soft and the lentils are cooked through.  
Serve with crusty bread covered with lashings of butter.

Gary Townsend is head chef at One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel du Vin, Glasgow.

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