1 butternut squash
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons high-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 carrots, peeled, quartered, and diced small
3 celery stalks, diced small
1 medium white onion, diced small
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
3 tablespoons jasmine rice (or another long-grain white rice)
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon good-quality honey
1. Cut the ends off the butternut squash. Cut it in half, using a strong knife to make it through the thick skin. Cut those halves into half, leaving the butternut squash in quarters. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Season the squash with salt and pepper, then drizzle the olive oil in liberal amounts over the squash. Pinch the smoked paprika on top of the oil. Lay the seasoned butternut squash pieces on a baking sheet and toss them around, coating everything in the olive oil and paprika.
2. Roast the squash in the oven for roughly forty-five minutes, or until a butter knife goes through the flesh with ease. Do not allow them to become mushy. The knife should slide right in, then slide out, without leaving a trail of mushy butternut squash on it.
3. Cool the squash for twenty minutes to half an hour, or until you can peel them with ease. Peel the skins from the squash with a knife. Set the squash aside for the moment.
4. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt four ounces of unsalted butter on medium-high heat. After it has melted down about halfway, add the two tablespoons of oil. Allow the two liquids to become a coherent mixture. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook the vegetables on low heat, or until the vegetables begin to sweat, as though they are sitting in a sauna. (This should take about ten to fifteen minutes, the same as a sauna.) Stir them occasionally during this process. The vegetables will have a bright color, and they will be soft but not mushy.
5.Add the chopped thyme, rosemary, and sage to the vegetables. (You must use fresh herbs here, or the soup will taste dusty and pale.) Cook the mixture until the perfume of the herbs emerges and turns the noses of everyone in the other room.
6. Add the cooked squash to the soup pot. Cook the mixture for three to four minutes on medium heat. At this point, add the tablespoons of rice. Stir the mixture well and cook for at least a minute, or until all the rice grains are coated. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
7. Cover the vegetables with the stock, which should be one inch higher than the vegetables. After eight minutes or so, check on the firmness of the rice. Stick a spoon in the soup, grab a grain of rice, and determine its texture. Edibly soft? Youre done? Rigid and inflexible. Cook for a few minutes more. Mushy? You have gone too long.
8. Pull the soup from the pot and put it into your blender. Puree it as finely as you can. Next, strain the puree in small batches through a fine mesh sieve, pressing the soup through with the back of a wooden spoon. This will leave the pulp behind in the sieve, and the soup you have strained a wonderfully fine taste.
9. Bring the soup back to a bubbling boil in the soup pan. Add the butter and cream, then stir them in. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Just before serving, add the honey to the soup and stir.
10.Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a dollop of crème fraiche and some fresh chives. Serve the soup to your happy guests.
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