River & Rail's Summer Squash Soup Recipe

A market-fresh soup

The silky soup was only the beginning. When Aaron Deal, executive chef at Roanoke, Virginia's newly opened The River and Rail, created this summer squash purée, he assembled a toasted-bread accompaniment that complements the soup's creamy texture. Each baguette slice is loaded with goat cheese, baby arugula and a flurry of country ham. The pairing is much like soup and a sandwich, but smarter.

Recipe adapted from Aaron Deal, The River and Rail, Roanoke, VA

Summer Squash Soup
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Summer Squash Soup from The River and Rail.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour
  • Soup
  • 2 small leeks--tops removed and set aside, stalks halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 7 young, tender yellow squash, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 2½ cups vegetable broth
  • Garnish
  • ½ baguette, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
  • ½ cup creamy goat cheese
  • 4 pieces country ham, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Make the soup: Use a piece of kitchen twine to wrap together the leek tops, thyme, parsley and bay leaf, set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and sliced leeks and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and the reserved leek bundle. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and discard the leek bundle. Carefully add the soup to a blender and purée in batches until smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Make the garnish: Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush the tops with the olive oil. Place in the oven and toast until crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Spread the goat cheese onto the baguette slices and top with ham, squash slices and arugula. Sprinkle with sea salt and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately alongside the squash soup.
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