It’s been both so dry and so cold in New York that I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my own skin! I haven’t been able to fully open my eyes in about a week. Either I’m squinting into the blustery wind on my way to work or wherever else I’m headed, or I’m at home or at work with the heat on full blast, drying out my eye sockets. I’ve been trying to be good about putting eye drops in, but seeing as how I’m a true believer (i.e. I wear glasses all the time and have never worn contacts), I have a really hard time getting them into my eyes, so whenever I attempt the eye drop thing it’s this big production where I stand in front of the sink squeezing my eyes together for a few minutes before I can open them again. I love a lot of things about winter, but the extra maintenance is not one of those things. I have to worry about putting lotion on my body and coconut oil in my hair…basically I’ve got a thin layer of something or other coating my person at all times so that I don’t turn into a cracked mess. Right now, the temperature says that it’s 30 degrees out but the wind chill takes the “real feel” down to about 20 degrees. I want to just stay under this blanket all day. It’s so toasty in here. For some reason, though, no matter what doe-eyed face I can muster up, I still have to leave the apartment and make my way into the world. What’s up with that?
In order to avoid having to leave the office and go back out into said world for sustenance, I try to make sure I have lunches prepped for the week for Kramer and myself. This butternut squash and bell pepper soup was one of those lunches a few weeks back. I’m a huge bell pepper fan and eat them quite often, so when a big bag of them were on sale (why are bell peppers so expensive?) I was excited to roast them until slightly charred alongside a big butternut squash and puree them into a warming winter soup. The bell peppers add a nice, bright contrast to the creamy butternut squash, and I threw some caramelized garlic in there with some roasted onions because that’s how you add maximum flavor to any soup. You can feel free to garnish a big bowl of this with toasted pecans and chives, like I did, or get creative: maybe some big, homemade croutons would be good and add a nice texture, or chopped pistachios or even just a swirl of yogurt or cream for color and body. Whatever you do, you know butternut squash soup is going to be good, so add your spin and enjoy.
Gather your ingredients.
Throw everything on a tray and toss together.
Then roast at 400 degrees F until the squash is tender.
Add your water or stock, puree, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Sprinkle with toasted pecans and some chives.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 3 bell peppers (I used red, yellow and orange - avoid green as it has almost no flavor), seeded and cut into cubes similar in size to the squash
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, still in their peels
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (plus more if you like it spicier)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 cups of vegetable stock or water
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted (optional)
- chives, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Peel and cube your butternut squash, then roughly chop your bell peppers and onion. Add your whole cloves of unpeeled garlic. Drizzle everything with ¼ cup of olive oil, then sprinkle with your salt, paprika, red pepper flakes and ground black pepper. Use your hands to toss everything well. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or so, until the squash is tender.
- Remove your vegetables from the oven and pick out the garlic cloves. Squeeze the garlic out of its peels and add it to the vegetable mix. Puree the vegetables in batches until smooth, then add to a large stock pot (or, alternatively, add the vegetables directly to your stock pot and use an immersion blender to puree them). Add in a cup of water at a time, stirring after each addition, until the soup is the consistency that you prefer.
- Heat the soup over medium until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you want to toast your pecans, place them in a dry skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until lightly golden and aromatic. Divide your soup among your bowls and sprinkle with a bit of the toasted pecans and some chives, if you like. This soup will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 5 months.