Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup With Spiced Whipped Crme Fraiche and Crispy Sage

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Makes 4 6 oz servings

Half of one Kabocha squash, seeds removed and discarded
1 medium sized russet potato peeled and cut into medium dice
1 yellow jumbo onion skin removed and roughly cut up
1 garlic clove
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
1 small sprig fresh thyme
¼ cup half and half
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ stick unsalted butter
¼ tsp ea of ground clove, allspice, nutmeg, cumin
2 quarts homemade vegetable stock or your favorite store brand low sodium vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
6 fresh sage leaves flash fried to a crisp and set aside

Directions for Whipped Crème Fraiche Topping
1cup fresh crème fraiche
Fresh grated nutmeg

Fill one medium sized mixing bowl with ice and another with the crème fraiche.  Place the crème fraiche bowl over the ice and using a whisk, begin whipping until stiff peaks form or about 5 minutes.  Fold in freshly grated nutmeg to taste.

Slotted spoon
Large cookie sheet or sheet pan for roasting the squash
Large stock pot
Blender or food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season squash with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, place in oven cut side up and roast for 45 minutes or until squash begins to brown. Carefully remove from oven let rest for 20 minutes, then while squash is still warm, peel skin from squash and discard.  Cut squash into one inch cubes.
Place stock pot on medium high heat, add butter and let melt until it begins to froth. Add onions, garlic, potato, thyme, rosemary, Half and Half, along with spice mixture.  Cook for five minutes stirring constantly, being careful not to let the mixture burn.  Add roasted squash to stock pot, then add stock and enough filtered water to cover three inches above squash. Reduce heat to medium low, let cook for one hour or until potatoes are cooked through.
Begin working in small batches and being very careful not to burn yourself, begin spooning some of the soup mixture into your blender or food processor. Make sure to only fill the cup of the blender half way, as the the hot soup will double in size. Blend until smooth, then transfer to smaller pot.  Continue the process until all stock mixture has been blended. Taste soup frequently and adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Plate soup by ladling into large soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of the whipped crème fraiche and sprinkle the fried sage over top…cheers!