So Paula Wolfert’s Autumn Squash Soup with Country Ham and Garlic Croutes seemed a good choice last night. The recipe is from her updated book “The Cooking of Southwest France,” which is lovely and has beautiful photographs.

That being said, I first want to let you all know what I’m using for source materials, outside of Wolfert’s book:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck. Bien sur.)

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E.Saint-Ange” (On every French cook’s shelf)

French Country Cooking” (Anne Willan. Brilliant, loads of how-to photos and practical tips)

“French Cookery” (Anne Willan. This one is old and out of print.)

Ok, back to the soup.

It turned out wonderfully! And I did receive a good lesson on the remarkable changes that can happen during the course of the simmering process.

garlic croutes with prosciutto

The soup involves baking the squash (I used butternut. A huge organic beast of one.) then pureeing the flesh with the prepared stock. Once the purée is complete, heavy cream is added. The initial taste was overwhelming to me. Tasted way too much like dessert. But Wolfert advises bringing the soup immediately to a boil once the cream is added and simmering for five minutes (I did ten) during which the flavor totally changed and became more savory.

The genius of this recipe is the addition of thin, butter and garlic sauteed croutes with thin strips of prosciutto as a garnish. And a few fresh chives. The garlic adds a nice front to the creaminess of the soup. I added a splash of balsamic as an experiment and it worked, too. Truly delicious.

Mark finished a second bowl with chunks of baguette slathered in sweet butter. This one I’ll definitely make again.

Paula Wolfert's squash soup