Autumn Squash Soup with Country Ham and Garlic Croutes


  • 1½ to 2 pounds butternut, kabocha, or buttercup squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat or butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (storebought or homemade—page 405)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of piment d'Espelette or any moderately hot red pepper (see Mail Order Sources, pages 415–417)
  • 2½ ounces jambon de Bayonne, Serrano ham, or prosciutto, trimmed of fat and cut into thin ribbons
  • 6 thin slices of stale baguette
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


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