Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup with Pork “Croutons”

Have you ever noticed the recipes in the Williams-Sonoma catalog? I always notice them while flipping through the pages but haven’t ever made one. Well, we got a new holiday catalog last week and when I saw this recipe, I knew we had to try it. It’s a great version of a butternut squash soup with added depth of flavor from the carrot and apple in it along with the butternut squash. We went “all in” with the recipe and even made the pork belly “croutons” but they were so fatty, I think next time we’ll just go with pieces of bacon as garnish.

Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup with Pork “Croutons”
from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

1 large butternut squash, about 3 lb., peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs plus 1 tsp. olive oil
10-oz. slab pork belly, cut into batons about 1/2 by 1/2 by 1 inch
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6C chicken stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 C heavy cream
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Preheat an oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the squash, carrots, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are browned and tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside.

In a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the 1 tsp. olive oil. Add the pork belly and cook, stirring occasionally, until rendered and browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard the fat in the pot and wipe out the pot with paper towels.

In the same pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaf, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Working in batches, puree the apple-stock mixture with the roasted vegetables in a blender until smooth (or, just use your immersion blender right in the pot like we did!). Return the soup to the pot and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the parsley and pork belly croutons and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.


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