Butternut Squash Soup with a Nutmeg Cream

by Michael Salmon, Hartstone Inn

2½ pounds butternut squash, skin and seeds removed, roughly cut into ½-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly cut into ½-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and roughly cut
1 stalk celery, roughly cut
1½ quarts chicken stock
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
1½ teaspoons brown sugar, firmly packed
Salt and white pepper to taste
¼ cup whipping cream
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped chives
¼ cup crisp croutons

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the cut butternut squash and carrots on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in roasted squash and carrots, celery, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Blend the soup with either a handheld immersion blender or in a regular household blender until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper.

To serve, whip the cream to stiff peaks and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped chives and crisp croutons.

Serves 8.

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