Butternut Squash Soup with Serrano Ham, Smoky Paprika and Cinnamon
robustly flavored soup, the natural sweetness of the squash contrasts nicely
with the salty, smoky taste of the Spanish ham and paprika. A stick of
Ceylon cinnamon is the bridge between the two, balancing the savory and the
sweet with its own aromatic, slightly astringent flavor. When the cooked
squash and other ingredients are whirred in a blender, a transformation
occurs: The soup becomes smooth and rich, as if spoonfuls of cream had been
ladled into the pot.
To serve 6
finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 stick of Ceylon cinnamon, about 2 inches
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
3 cups homemade chicken stock
1-1/2 cups white wine
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
tablespoon chives, minced
2-ounce slice of Serrano ham, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot, smoked Spanish paprika
1 small orange
1. In a
large saucepan, sauté the onion, garlic and cinnamon stick in the olive
oil for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, until the vegetables are soft and
the cinnamon releases its fragrance.
2. Add the squash and sauté until it begins to soften, 7-8 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat
and simmer uncovered until squash is very tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove
4. Ladle soup mixture into a blender, in two batches if necessary, and
whirr until smooth and creamy.
5. Return to the saucepan over very low heat. Taste, then add salt and
white pepper as desired.
6. Run a microplane over the surface of an orange once or twice and add
the grated zest to the soup. Do not add too much. There should be just
a whisper of orange flavor. Stir.
7. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle each serving with minced
chives, a pinch of smoked paprika, and chopped ham. Serve hot.
to Spice Kitchen]