Thanksgiving Recipe Series #2- Soup & Salad

Welcome to part two of Bensalem Comfort’s Thanksgiving Recipe Series!  Part one featured two delicious appetizers to keep your guest’s bellies from grumbling while waiting for the turkey.  If you missed the recipes, be sure to refer to my November 12th blog post.

Today I’m going to share a cozy and comforting butternut squash soup with fontina cheese crostini and a pear and pomegranate salad with a warm dressing.  Either one of these dishes is sure to be a hit on your Thanksgiving table so give them a try!

Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini

Total Time: 52 min, Prep time: 12 min, Cook time: 40 min, Yield: 4 to 6 servings 

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups)

6 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crostini Ingredients:

1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1 cup (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese

Kosher salt

Directions:

In an 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.  Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage.  Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Keep the soup warm over low heat.

For the crostini, put an oven rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cheese crostini.

Cook’s Note: The cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for about 5 minutes) by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.  Also, for a festive touch, try serving the soup in small hollowed out pumpkins or squash.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Prep time: 10 min, Cook time: 2 min, Servings: 12

Ingredients:

18 cups green leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn

 6 Bartlett or Anjou pear

 2 cups pomegranate seeds

 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 3/4 cup pomegranate juice

 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons lemon juice

 2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

 3 tablespoons honey

 Ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Divide the lettuce between two bowls.  Halve and core the pear, then cut each half in slices. Divide the pear slices and pomegranate seeds among the two bowls and mix gently.

Combine the vegetable oil, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and pepper in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the dressing thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.  Pour the warm dressing over the salads and serve.

While not everyone considers serving soup or salad at Thanksgiving dinner, it can be a nice change of pace.  It will help give a more elegant and sophisticated feel to your meal by serving different courses to your guests.  Also, nothing is better than some hot soup on a chilly fall night and salad gives a healthy kick-start to your meal and fills you up so you don’t over stuff yourself with all of the not so healthy foods that come later in the meal.  So give these recipes a try and let me know what you think!  Check back soon for my next blog in the Thanksgiving Recipe Series where I’ll be bringing you some fabulous, full of flavor side dishes.

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