There's nothing more delicious than a bowl of velvety butternut squash soup in the fall. I've seen millions of variations, paring the butternut with both sweet ingredients like apple and cranberry to savory like leeks and potatoes. Obviously I used pomegranate in this, but to balance the sweet roasted squash and sweet-tart pomegranate juice, I used a base of caramelized onions. I cooked the onions for several hours over low heat with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. The squash was roasted and pureed with the onions, and vegetable stock, cream and pomegranate juice finished out the dish.
For a final touch of elegance, I swirled around a dollop of creme fraiche and sprinkled toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate arils on top so my guests would know there was pomegranate in the soup. This soup would be the perfect dipper to pair with your classic day-after-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich!
*Note: This photo is from my recipe testing for the party. At the party, I also topped each bowl with a puffed pastry crouton, which is optional as well.
Caramelized Onion and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 10-12 started portions
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 lbs. yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly
Salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 3 fresh sprigs
1 large butternut squash (about 4-5 lbs.)
1 c. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
4 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. half and half
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400*
Slice squash in half, place cut side down on a lined baking sheet, place in the oven.
Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until skin has puckered and flesh is tender (pierce with a knife).
Remove from the oven and cool.
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat, add butter, olive oil, onions, a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Stir onions to coat in fat, then turn heat to low, add thyme.
Stir onions every 5-10 minutes for a few hours, until golden and not browned.
Place the onions and 1 c. vegetable stock in a blender, puree and pour back into the pot.
Place half the squash in the blender, puree with another cup of stock, pour into the pot.
Proceed with the rest of the squash, add to the pot.
Add the pomegranate juice, half and half, bay leaves and cayenne pepper to the soup.
Bring to a simmer, stir and taste.
Add additional stock, if necessary, cover and simmer over low for 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaves, ladle into bowls and top with creme fraiche, arils and toasted nuts.