the last soup of summer/the first soup of fall

squash and red bell peppers: meant to be together, but sadly not for long

Before you say Anny, get your eyes checked because nothing is in focus, let me tell you that due to poor planning I’ve been shooting food only under compact fluorescent lights and very late at night, so for the sake of color I’ve been taking blurry photos and calling it artistic (and before you ask, yes I have a tripod and no it is not in the same state as my camera right now). All this will change soon, honestly. For now just relax and think of it as Impressionism-food-portraiture.

This soup is the kind of thing you can only make one or two weeks out of the year – when the butternut squash starts showing up at the market and before the red peppers leave the scene (or retire to the $3 a pepper bin at the fiscally unrealistic menu choices section of the grocery store’s produce department). The peppers make it sweet and the squash keeps it smooth, and it’s complex without being too rich. I made a ton of it and have frozen most of it to eat on winter nights when I need a summer soup to warm me up again.

Squash & Pepper Soup

1 quart beef broth (or any broth really)
4 bell peppers (red or yellow or orange), cut into strips
1 small or half a large butternut squash, peeled & cut into chunks
2 onions, sliced thinly
Butter & olive oil
Salt, pepper & cumin
2 T lemon juice
2 T milk
Some fresh dill if you have it

Place the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, saute the onions on medium low heat in a large stock pot in a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter. Once they turn translucent, add the peppers as well as the stock and cook uncovered for 10 minutes on medium high heat.

Add the squash, cover, and cook on medium low heat for 20 more minutes.

Blend using an immersion blender (or use a food processor and return the pureed soup back to the pot). Add the lemon juice and milk as well as salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. It will take more salt than you think because the ingredients are all so sweet – I added about 2 teaspoons, but add just a bit at a time to avoid oversalting.

Serve with fresh dill and a dollop of plain yogurt.

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