Cream of Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Apples and Crispy Prosciutto

Recipe courtesy of Chef Al Levinsohn

Serves 8

½ C unsalted butter

¾ C all-purpose flour

1 C pureed, roasted butternut squash

¼ C minced yellow onions

¼ C minced celery

6 C chicken stock, heated

1 C half & half

1 T fresh thyme leaves ½ t ground nutmeg

To taste: ground white pepper

Kosher salt to taste

Heat butter in a heavy gauge 4-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add squash puree, celery and onions. Sweat in butter until tender. Add flour and mix into a smooth roux. Cook roux over low heat until it begins to shine. Add hot chicken stock and bring to a light boil, stirring vigorously to break up roux and form a smooth consistency. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until flour taste is gone (approximately 30-45 minutes.) Add cream, thyme, nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain soup through fine strainer, pressing vegetables against mesh to remove all their flavors. Return to low heat until ready to serve. Thin as needed with chicken stock.

Recommended garnish options:

Ground toasted hazelnuts or chestnuts, pan-roasted apples or pears, or crisp bacon or strips of prosciutto ham. These should be added to each bowl of soup individually just prior to serving, or at the table.