One night last week, after I’d had a long and annoying day, Tony excitedly announced that we were making butternut squash soup for dinner. All I could manage was a scowl.
I was in a bratty mood—tired, hungry, and wanting pizza to magically appear next to me on the couch (and have no calories in it). I didn’t feel like cooking, and squash soup wasn’t nearly sexy enough to get me excited about moving.
After a few sheepish minutes, I forced myself off the cushions and into the kitchen, where things were starting to smell good. Tony had cooked up a piece of bacon, and was just beginning to sauté carrots, onions, and garlic in the drippings. Meanwhile, the squash was roasting away in the oven.
The smell of pork fat and simmering onions recharged my battery, and I was ready to get going. Tony found a poblano pepper in the bottom of the crisper and threw it in the oven with the squash. I rustled through the spices pulling out everything and anything that sounded good to me. (Usually a bad idea when you’re hungry.)
I added a heaping teaspoon of sweet curry; Tony insisted we use some paprika. We tasted. Not bad. I wanted thyme, he suggested bay leaves, so we went with both. We tasted again. Not bad at all. When the squash was tender, we scooped the sweet orange flesh into the pot, and added the roasty poblano. Finally, we crumbled the cooked bacon back in and pureed the soup in batches. Back on the stove, we adjusted the seasoning and added a splash of cream.
The final taste floored me! I know it sounds like our soup is having an international identity crisis—poblano pepper, French thyme, sweet curry, bay leaves, and Hungarian paprika all in the same pot. And you can chuckle if you want, but this soup was a-freaking-mazing! I couldn’t believe how delicious it was.
We ladled the soup into large bowls and garnished it with cilantro and a spoonful of plain yogurt. I ate my entire bowl, and mopped it clean with a piece of bread. Then set about “doing the dishes,” which was really just code for licking everything this soup had touched—bowl, spoons, ladles…maybe even the pot. It was straight up embarrassing. But I didn’t care.
If you do one thing this week, make this soup. It’s life changing. (Even if you want pizza or think you don’t like squash). I am passing this recipe on to you all because, when momentous things—like this soup—happen in your life, you just have to share them with the people you love.