Butternut squash is much loved by those with a sweet tooth; it’s in its name, butter nut! Roasted or pureed into soup, this squash is so delicious. I love to add a bit of spice and when I came across this post suggesting the pairing with pomegranate seeds, I knew I had to try it!
Pomegranates have always intrigued me, ever since hearing the Greek Myth of Persephone and Hades and how eating only 6 seeds from the pomegranate he offered her saved her from living in the Underworld for the full 12 months of the year. However, not having lived near the Mediterranean or a similar climate, I have rarely had a chance to buy them. Of course, they are ubiquitous in Southern California and in season in the fall. (I find that so odd since they seem tropical and summery to me, but what do I know, having never lived where they grow!)
Pomegranates have a sweet and tart flavor and are a natural compliment to spicy or sweet food. Let me know if you have a favorite way of using them, as I would love to diversify. They certainly sang in this soup!
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate
2 cups cubed butternut squash (peeled)
1 onion, diced
1/2 dried chipotle pepper, minced
2 slices bacon, diced (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pears, cored, chopped
3 cups stock (vegetable)
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)*
Cut the butternut in half and carefully (carefully!) peel it with a pairing knife. Cut into cubes and only use 2 cups. Heat a large sauce pan over high heat and add olive oil and bacon if using. Cook until meat is browned and then add onion and cook another 3-4 minutes until softened. Add chipotle pepper and cook another minute before adding stock, squash, and pears and bring to boil. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until squash is soft enough to mash with a fork. Turn off heat and cool 2-4 minutes and blend with hand held blender or in upright blender. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with 1/2 tablespoon pomegranate seeds per bowl.
*Removing the seeds from a pomegranate is simple when you use this trick. Cut the pomegranate in half and transfer both halves to a bowl full of water. Under water, carefully dig out the seeds and allow the membrane to float to the top. Pour off the water and membranes and store the seeds in water until ready to use.
Recipes currently inspiring me: