I love creamy soups. The weird thing is...I didn't always even know that I love them.....it just sorta snuck up on me. I especially love creamy squash soups. Butternut squash in particular. When it dawned on me that 2 of my guests for my Pom Wonderful Dinner Party are vegetarians...well, I had to think differently, and be more aware of what I was going to cook. I poked around the web in search of pomegranate soups and found a few that caught my eye and remembered one that I had made a year or so ago. None were vegetarian, and none fit the bill 100% for what I had in mind, but with a few adjustments and merging of ingredients...I believe you could say that this recipe was inspired by 3 different ones. The most prominent being from Michael Chiarello's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.
Now....Let me forewarn you....this is not difficult to make...but it is time consuming with several steps. It could easily be something you start one day and finish up the next...either roast the squash ahead of time or do it all up to the point where you've creamed the soup...it's up to you. With that said...let me also add that it is worth Every. Minute. Spent.
Preheat your oven to 400' F.
Pom Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
(Because of all the steps and the various recipes that are needed to make this soup happen, I'm not going have a printable version.)
Get out your butternut squash....about 2 lbs
Peel it, scoop out the seeds and cut it into chunk, about 1 inch
Season with salt and pepper and place them in a shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet. Set aside
For the roasting sauce:
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Pomegranate Molasses (if you don't have any and don't want to make any...just use regular molasses)
2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub
Melt the butter in a saucepan until light brown....being careful not to over do it....once the butter starts to brown, it goes from brown to black quickly.
Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Return to the stove, over medium-low heat and cook for about a minute or so, while stirring.
Pour the sauce over your squash, toss around to coat and bake for about 45 minutes, tossing occasionally. Now...this time frame of 45 minutes is a loosey goosey time frame. If the squash is tender and beginning to brown, it's done. Mine happened to be done in 30 minutes.
Now for the fun part....
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stock, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons white pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 cup cream or milk (I used Mexican crema because it's extremely smooth and slightly sweet)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
In a stock pot or large sauce pan (something large enough to hold all your soup because we're sticking to one pot here, peeps) heat the olive oil. Add the sweet potato, onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until onion is clear and veggies are...I dunno...el dente? Just beginning to get tender.
Add the butternut squash, vegetable broth, and coriander. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a medium low and cook for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and squishable.
Add salt, pepper to taste, vermouth and lemon juice.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Depending on your preference or what you have on hand, you're going to cream it all together....food processor, blender or immersion blender...and blend away....
Until there are no more lumps and you can't tell what's in there
Add the milk or cream and reheat.
Garnish with a little cream and the pomegranate arils.
Because the soup was the main dish for my vegetarian guests, I wanted it to be special. Thus, deciding to serve the soup in bread bowls. I put together the basic Master recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (recipe and techniques can be found on the authors website: Artisanbreadinfive.com) When I formed the dough into balls and was allowing it to rise, I was concerned that the dough would spread and not rise as tall as it was round. I decided the dough needed support....so I sprayed a small, oven proof saucepan with cooking spray and plopped the dough inside to finish it's rise and then stuck the saucepan right into the oven and cooked my "bowls".
It was the perfect solution....even, uniform and tall enough to create a deep bowl by lopping off the top of the bread and cutting out a "well"
And there you have delicious homemade bread bowls with little lid warmers even.
Did you notice that we have some roasted butternut squash left over?
Take a baguette or two, and cut into 1/2" - 1" slices....brush with garlic infused olive oil (1/4 cup olive oil in a pan with about 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, sliced. Once the garlic browns, scoop out with a slotted spoon. What you have left is the infused olive oil). Toast the slices in a hot oven until nice and brown (425 for about 10 minutes maybe? I dunno...just keep an eye on it)
Dice up the butternut squash into smaller chunks, dice up a few tomatoes, chop up some fresh basil and toss it all in a bowl, mixing in a good handful or so of pomegranate arils.
Mix up some goat cheese (or cream cheese) with a little salt and pepper...spread thinly over the toasted bread....top with some squash / pom mix and enjoy!
This is my entry for this weeks Souper Sunday over at Kahakai Kitchen
Go have a look-see....you're bound to find several mouth watering recipes for soups, salads and sammies!