Butternut Squash Leek Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Creme Fraîche
Soups one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen. In my mind, there is no better way to start off a new year than with a big bowl of hot soup.
This Butternut Squash and Leek Soup is the first of the year and I have to admit, I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The soup is creamy and rich, yet nutritious and versatile. If you want to make this vegetarian or vegan friendly, simply swap the chicken stock for vegetable broth.
For a touch of indulgence, the soup is garnished with creme fraiche and crispy prosciutto. It makes this dish a bit more fancy and elegant, particularly if you are looking to serve it as a first or main course.
In fact, this might just be one of my favorite soups that I’ve ever made? That type of proclamation always makes me a bit nervous, but I’m sticking with it. Particularly this time.
Some vegetables are made for soups and butternut squash and leeks are two of my favorite soup staples. Squash seems to produce one of the creamiest textures for soup.
Leeks are equally as special. Onions are great in a pinch (in fact, this recipe uses a bit of onion as well), but whenever I am making or creating soup recipes, such as this Asparagus Soup, that use just two or three main ingredients, I turn to leeks.
Crispy prosciutto is a welcome addition to this soup.
Since this addition is a garnish (and not used in the soup at all), I chose Italian prosciutto, because it is paper-thin, not quite as smoky as bacon or pancetta which can sometimes over power more delicate flavors. It also quickly crisps up in the oven.
How to Make Crispy Prosciutto:
To make extra crispy prosciutto, lay individual prosciutto slices on a lined half sheet pan and bake at 375°F (190°C) for roughly 15 minutes. They crisp, darken in color, and can be served whole or broken into small pieces or crumbles.
Since the crispy prosciutto is best served immediately, I recommend prepping it just before serving.
Garnishes are the accessories of the food world.
Sure, you could live without them. But they can really pull a dish together and give it that extra ‘wow’ factor. I guarantee you that most people will be more excited and grateful to see that you made soup for dinner if it is accompanied by a huge slice of crispy prosciutto.
This soup can be thrown together in less than 45 minutes and is perfect for any day of the week. It can also be made ahead and reheated later.
Butternut Squash Leek Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Creme Fraîche
- 6 Prosciutto di Parma slices optional
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
- ½ medium yellow onion finely diced
- 2 large leeks white and light green parts only, thinly sliced, roughly 6 ounces
- 2 large garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves about 3 to 4 sprigs
- 2½-3 lb whole butternut squash peeled and chopped into ¾-inch chunks
- 1 quart (4 cups; 960 mL) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice see recipe notes
- creme fraîche for dolloping
- Prepare the Crispy Prosciutto Slices: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Carefully lay the prosciutto slices flat onto the lined sheet pan, leaving space between them. Bake the prosciutto, flipping halfway, for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are very crispy and have darken in color. Place slices on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil and set aside to cool while you finish preparing the soup.
- Make the Butternut Squash Leek Soup: Heat the olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat, or until it just begins to bubble and sizzle slightly. Add the chopped onion and leeks, a pinch of salt, cover, and sauté over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the onions and leek are very soft and translucent. Uncover the pot, add the garlic and thyme and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the chopped butternut squash and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the squash is very tender.
- Carefully transfer the soup to a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, and pureé until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper (soups usually need quite a heavy hand of salt to be well-balanced) and stir in the lime juice. Serve the soup piping hot with a slice of crispy prosciutto and a dollop of creme fraiche.
Tips for Success:
- Fresh lime juice is one of my favorite ‘trick’ ingredients for soups! It is a bit more delicate than lemon, and helps balance flavors extremely well. If you don’t have it on hand, feel free to leave it out.
27 Comments on “Butternut Squash Leek Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Creme Fraîche”
I made this tonight. It was wonderful! I have never had crispy proscuitto before… I think I want all my proscuitto crispy from now on 🙂 thanks so much for this recipe; my husband and I really enjoyed it!
I like prosciutto. Look delicious…
Mmm – the creme fraiche and prosciutto topping take this soup to the next level. I’m also in a soup kind of mood these days and this one sounds so comforting (also – I’m 100% in support of soup week!).
Soup sounds to me like the PERFECT way to kick off the new year! Especially with that creme fraiche swirl mixed. You are so right – a girl’s gotta get her kicks somewhere!
I love trying out new soup recipes in winter and this one looks like a must!
This sounds amazing! I’ve been searching for soup recipes lately, in an effort to stay warm this winter! Thanks for sharing.
So happy to hear that! Thanks Natalie!
Oopsie! I meant prosciutto.
Pancetta would be equally as good! 🙂
This looks like a perfect dish for the new year! The crispy pancetta looks amazing. Nice touch!
Love this soup! We made a butternut squash soup yesterday too for this dreary weather and I wish I’d seen this one first. I love the salty prociutto on top! And creme fraiche is the ultimate topping. Have you been to Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda? They top their butternut squash soup with creme fracihe and I absolutely love it!
No! I can’t believe I haven’t been there before! What the heck?! Going to look it up now! Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂
Yum! I already love butternut squash soup, but I bet it’s made even better with the crispy prosciutto!
It’s a fun addition for sure! 🙂
Omg, This is all of my favorite flavors in one bowl! Looks delish!
Mmm this looks gorgeous and creamy Laura! I love the addition of crispy proscuitto on top too!
Love butternut squash, especially in a soup form. Will try your version this winter.
“Crispy pork situation” is officially my new favorite phrase. 🙂 This soup sounds so hearty and delicious for a cold winter’s night!
Sounds like a great soup. Love the prosciutto!
This looks amazing! This has been the first winter I have really been into Butternut Squash but I can’t seem to get enough!
Count me in on your soup week fan club… especially if they all have accessories 🙂 I see it as a bit of detoxing while still having fun! Happy New Year Laura!
I’m doing a soup week starting on Monday! I love soup so much, so I’m a bit biased as well 🙂 this one looks delicious!
I am in love with this! The flavors sound amazing, especially with those accessories 😉
The toppings make any soup, gotta have good toppings! 🙂 Plus, I love anything butternut, so this is totally my kind of soup!
Soups are definitely one of my favorite things to make. And so I’m totally down for soup week 2015!! Happy New Year, Laura!
This looks so good! You totally picked the perfect recipe to start the year!
Garnishes DEFINITELY are the accessory of the food world! And the proscuitto and creamy, squashy goodness are totally calling for a faceplant! This sounds bomb girl! Pinned!