Thursday, December 29, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Pepper Soup

This is by far my favorite soup, and that's not just because it is the first soup that I can really put my name on! I developed it over time, taking pieces of several soup recipes and combining them to get this deliciousness (if I do say so myself...which I do)! As my uncle and I discussed over Christmas, it can be difficult to remember what you do when you create a recipe this way, since there is no real plan when you start cooking and there is no transcription of your creation while you're creating it. Nevertheless, after making it several times while being mindful that I wanted to write about it, I finally got it down on paper. Let me know what you think!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Bell Pepper Soup
Kelley Gondring

Preheat oven 400º, preferably using the "Roast" setting (if your oven doesn't have this setting, that's okay, it will just take your veggies a little longer to get tender).

Cut in half lengthwise:
1 Butternut Squash
Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into 6-8 large pieces and place flesh-side down in casserole dish. Fill dish with enough water so that one-third of the squash is submerged. Drizzle the outside skin of the squash with olive oil. Cook 50-60 minutes or until a fork goes smoothly through the skin.

Meanwhile wash and dry:
1 Red Bell Pepper
Drizzle skin of the red bell pepper with olive oil. Place in a separate dish and roast about 20 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the skin chars; you won't use it (ditto for the squash).

After removing the pepper from the oven, place in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap; this will help the skin of the pepper pull away from the flesh. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Cut the pepper into sections, peel away the skin and remove the seeds. Place flesh back into the bowl.

Once the squash is cooked, remove from the casserole dish and place flesh-side up on plate/cutting board. Let it cool and then use a spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin. Place squash in a bowl with the roasted pepper.

After the squash and pepper are done roasting, combine in a large soup pot:
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely diced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and coarsely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and coarsely diced

Over medium heat, sauté chopped veggies about 15 minutes.

Once veggies are tender, add:
4 cloves minced garlic
Cook garlic for 1 minute stirring constantly, being careful not to let it burn.

6 cups chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Bring broth to a boil. Add roasted veggies and let soup simmer 20-25 minutes.

*Remember, you can add but you can't take away!

Finally, working in batches, use a blender to puree soup until it has a smooth consistency.

Eat up!

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