“Worries go down better with soup.”
To me, this recipe epitomized the essence of autumn dinners. The caramelized pears add a bit of sweetness to a classic butternut squash soup. I modified a Williams-Sonoma recipe slightly to make it my own and one of the secret weapons I used is nutmeg. I like to add it to savory dishes that have cream in them (like Alfredo sauce) for an unexpected flavor. I used frozen organic pieces of butternut squash but you can always roast your own squash. The crispy slices of prosciutto are the prefect garnish to add some crunch to the smooth soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender and blend the soup in batches. This recipe serves 12 but I cut it in half and it turned out great. Now, go curl up by the fire, open a good book, take a bite out of some local sweet French bread, and enjoy some autumn soup!
- 8 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto, (or bacon)
- 5 Tablespoons of butter
- 4 red Anjou pears (or red Bartlett), cored and cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Pounds of frozen butternut squash
- 4 Cups of chicken or vegetable broth, plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons of minced fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 Cup of crème fraîche, (or half and half)
- Dash of nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the prosciutto cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Add enough pear slices to form a single layer and cook, turning once, until caramelized on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to cook the remaining pears.
- In the same pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter. Add the celery and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the butternut squash and cook down until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the 4 cups of broth, thyme, 3/4 of the pears, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche and nutmeg. Add more broth if needed to reach the desired consistency. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the prosciutto, remaining pear slices and a dollop of crème fraîche.