Hi, I’m Shani

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that.

Pre-Cut Butternut Squash Soup

Pre-Cut Butternut Squash Soup

This is not my recipe. I don’t want you thinking I’m this talented. This recipe, as good ones often do, comes from Emily Fiffer, my good friend and co-owner of Botanica, a restaurant in Los Angeles I highly suggest you visit. Tell her Shani sent ‘ya. That won’t do anything for you, I just want her to know I say hi.

I once complained to Emily that my first attempt at butternut squash soup was inedible, as so many of my first attempts at things tend do be. I do not like recipes and prefer to simply join ingredients together as if making some kind of potion. Emily the Magician sent me a list of four or five ingredients and changed my life. At the very least she changed my lunch. She’s a good friend.

This is a soup that’ll teach you that you can add pretty much any vegetable to a pot of simmering coconut milk and create something delicious. It’s the incompetent cook’s go-to and I’m its greatest success story. Fun fact I found out today: It also makes short work of hangovers.

I’d like to make one thing clear: There is no shame in pre-cut butternut squash. Please buy this. Unless you happen to enjoy the gross, grainy feeling your hands have for an entire day after peeling and chopping one of these orange jerks. And don’t fuck with “light’ coconut milk. Who are you.

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  • Butternut squash

  • 1/4 of an onion

  • Chipotle peppers (2, and about a tbsp of the sauce they come in)

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • Salt + pepper to taste

  • A little olive oil for roasting the squash

  • A baking sheet

  • An immersion blender, but you could just use a normal blender too I guess

  • Something to garnish the soup with so your Instagram photos will look better

  • About an hour and a half of a Sunday. This is a relatively low-commitment soup

I am aware that chipotle peppers do not photograph well.

I am aware that chipotle peppers do not photograph well.


  • Toss your squash with a little olive oil, salt, + pepper, spread on a baking sheet

  • Roast your squash in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes

  • About 10 minutes before your squash is done, dice the onion and put in a pot with a splash of olive oil, simmer (you’re trying to soften the onion)

  • When the squash has finished roasting, add it to the pot, along with the can of coconut milk and the chipotle peppers*

  • Season with salt and pepper

  • Simmer for about 20 minutes

  • Use an immersion blender to blend everything until smooth–very smooth. You don’t want this chunky, it’ll be weird.

  • If the soup is thicker than you want it to be, you can add additional coconut milk, or if you only had the one can, try adding almond milk or a little bit of stock of your choice. You can also do this when you’re reheating your leftovers later

  • Eat your soup

  • Call a parent and tell them you made soup. They’ll like that.

*You’re not going to use the whole can of chipotle peppers but don’t worry, these freeze really well.

Chinae Alexander's Podcast Made Me Listen To Podcasts

Chinae Alexander's Podcast Made Me Listen To Podcasts